“Wearing the Lead Glasses” To Be Expanded into a Book

From "Wearing the Lead Glasses," Places, May 2019. Author Thomas Beller.
From “Wearing the Lead Glasses,” Places, May 2019. [Photograph by Annie Flanagan for Places Journal] Thomas Beller. [Photo by Chris Granger]

We are pleased to share that Thomas Beller is now under contract with Island Press to expand his Places article, “Wearing the Lead Glasses,” into a book.

Published in May 2019, “Wearing the Lead Glasses” is part of our series on economic and racial inequity in American cities, The Inequality Chronicles, which was supported by a grant from the Kresge Foundation. Beller centered his investigation in New Orleans, describing a profound public health crisis that has been neglected for more than a century. “Lead poisoning is the longest-running childhood epidemic in America,” he wrote. “It has no cure. The damage is immediate and irreversible.”

Places worked with me for almost two years on what turned out to be a novella-length work of nonfiction,” said Beller in a recent email exchange. “The process was closer to a book project than a magazine article, starting with shaping the general ambitions and aspirations of the piece, working through several drafts, and finally providing the kind of close line editing, copy editing, and fact checking that brought the piece into focus. I’m so grateful to have had the guidance to finish the piece, which served as a stepping-stone to my current book project.”

Beller is the author of several books, including Seduction Theory: Stories, The Sleep-Over Artist, How To Be a Man: Scenes from a Protracted Boyhood, and J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist, which won the New York City Book Award for biography/memoir. He is a longtime contributor to The New Yorker and has written for the New York Times, Vogue, Town and Country, N+1, and The Threepenny Review, among others. Beller is an associate professor and director of creative writing at Tulane University.