Big news from the Supreme Court today: In back-to-back rulings on same-sex marriage, judges refused to rule on Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage, clearing the way for gay marriages to resume in the state; and more important, judges ruled 5-4 in favor of extending federal benefits to same-sex couples. That case, which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, concerned a married gay couple from New York, Edith Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer. After Spyer died in 2008, Windsor inherited both Spyer's property and a $360,000 tax bill that Windsor would not have had to pay had the couple been opposite-sex. Windsor sued, and this morning, the court ruled in her favor. The New Yorker's Ariel Levy was at the apartment of Windsor's lawyer Roberta Kaplan when the ruling was handed down: "Kaplan called her mother and said, 'Total victory, Mom: it couldn’t be better.' Windsor said, 'I wanna go to Stonewall right now!' Then she called a friend and said, 'Please get married right away!'”
The Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona has mounted the first-ever retrospective of Chilean author Roberto Bolaño, “Bolaño Archive. 1977–2003,” an exhibition focusing on his time in Barcelona and his final years in the Catalan city of Girona and town of Blanes. The CCCB organized the exhibition in conjunction with Bolaño’s widow, Carolina López, in part to sweep aside the myths that have arisen around Bolaño since his death in 2003 of liver failure (that he was a junkie, an alcoholic, chronically depressed—none of which are true) and to showcase the wealth of manuscripts, letters, and books he left behind. For non-Spanish speaking viewers, the exhibition also clarifies the chronology of Bolaño’s writing. For more on the exhibit, we recommend Lisa Locascio’s excellent essay on it for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novelist Richard Matheson died this week at the age of 87. Cited by Steven King as one of his biggest influences, Matheson wrote The Incredible Shrinking Man, I Am Legend, and dozens of other works, many of which were later adapted into film.
A fifteen-year-old has landed a book deal to write a memoir. Maya Van Wagenen’s forthcoming Popular: Vintage Wisdom for the Modern Geek will be an account of her efforts “to follow a 1950s self-help book called Betty Cornell’s Teen-age Popularity Guide.” The book will be published by Penguin’s Young Adult division.
A new app called Placing Literature allows users plot literary landmarks on real maps. The app only launched a week ago, but developers say it already has thousands of locations marked, including “wilderness locations near Lake Tahoe where Samuel L. Clemens first wrote about Mark Twain and the Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House, which was featured in Infinite Jest.”
Today’s weird literary Kickstarter project is the Poetry Drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle that will “drop poem-bombs...in an effort bring the US military's covert drone operations into the spotlight.” They’ve raised $351 of the $10,000 goal and have twenty days to go.
At the Guardian, Kaya Genc notes the parallels between Bartleby the Scrivener and the “standing man” of the Istanbul protests.