Lois Leveen

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December 20, 2012

Is Django Unchained Shackled to Hollywood’s Past?

Who's the bigger Uncle Tom: Samuel L. Jackson or Mickey Mouse?
MIckey Mouse as Uncle Tom
Check out "Is Django Unchained Shackled to Hollywood's Past?" which I just wrote for Speakeasy, the Wall Street Journal's culture blog.

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December 2, 2012

Which Scares a Novelist More:  a Dentist, a Straight Razor, or Her Own Agent

What strikes terror into the heart of a novelist?

Listen to this piece from NPR's Live Wire! to find out:

Thanks as ever to the fantastic folks at Live Wire! Radio for having me on the show.
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November 18, 2012

Live from LiveWire

Last night I had a great time at the live taping for NPR's LiveWire! program.

LiveWire poster

It is mostly a comedy show.

Except that I was there talking about Mary Bowser, slavery, and the Civil War.

And Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale and NPR's Ari Shapiro were talking about the anniversary of the killing of Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers.

And Arthur Bradford talked about the How's Your News team (of developmentally disabled reporters) covering the 2012 presidential campaign.

That may not sound like a rocking good time, but it was. Because in Portland, rocking good time and social justice are not incompatible concepts. They are inseparable pursuits.
Ari Shapiro, Thomas Lauderdale, Lois Leveen

Check out the rest of the pix on Facebook, and tune in December 1 or thereabouts to hear the show (check the full broadcast schedule by city or look for the podcast on livewireradio.org).
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November 13, 2012

The Love Letter Every Author Ought to Write

My fifth-grade teacher Ms. Ziegler taught our class how to use a thesaurus. It's one of the few things I can remember learning that I still benefit from every day.

How important is my thesaurus to me? I once wrote a love letter to it, entitled "Living in Synonyms."

Apparently, I'm not the only one who adores her/his thesaurus. Don't believe me? Check out the responses to "An Ode to the King of Writerly Tools," a piece I just published in The New York Times.

How do you feel about your thesaurus? Or, for that matter, your fifth-grade teacher?
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October 17, 2012

Writing in Library Books

It's wrong to write in library books.

But what if you WROTE the library book?

Last June, when I spoke at the American Library Association annual conference, I autographed a lot of books. Some librarians asked me to write something special for their library patrons. So I thought, why don't I autograph the copies of my book in my local library?

Library Book

As you know if you read the acknowledgments in the novel, I love the Multnomah County Library--it's actual considered the best pubic library system in the country. So I decided to do a secret project (though I discussed it with some librarian friends first). I'm going to try to track down EVERY copy of the book in the library system, and sign them all. The trick is, there are lots of people reading the library copies.

So I put a hold on the book. Months ago. And just got a copy today. I'll sign it, and bring it right back to the library. And the I'll put another hold, and hope I get a different copy. I'll keep doing it, until I sign 'em all. Which is a bit tricky, because the library "retires" copies as they circulate. So who knows how long it will take. I'll keep you (blog) posted.
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