It’s Banned Books Week — time to celebrate your right to read Women in Love, Ulysses, and other notables from the ALA’s list of banned or challenged books. Though, according to the Wall Street Journal, this is a whole lotta hoo-ha over nothing.
“[W]e are and we are not who our blood roots predetermine us to be.” Over at Electric Literature, Sion Dayson talks with our own Sonya Chung about race, writing, and her new novel, The Loved Ones, which is one of the books we’re most excited to read this month.
In the Times, Jennifer Schuessler reviews Ishmael Beah’s new novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, which takes place in the same war-ravaged setting as the author’s 2007 memoir. Schuessler writes that Beah “delivers a glimpse of the hardships of postwar Sierra Leone along with strong and repeated assurances about the redemptive powers of stories themselves.”
Last year, Netherland author Joseph O’Neill helped open the Maya School, a school for Syrian refugee children in Turkey. Now he’s asking for donations of additional funds to keep the school operational. “We have set up a transparent and cost-effective partnership with Turkish counterparts of great integrity and knowhow,” O’Neill writes. “Of the $16,000 we raised last year, $3000 still remains. That tells you how far your dollars will go.”
Booksellers across the country have loaded up dollies with towers of boxes and carted them to the front of the store. Amazon has broken into its super-secret, double-locked, chain-link fence. Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is here. Understandably, other publishers have ceded this Tuesday almost entirely to the Dan Brown hype machine, but those looking for something (very) different can today find Joyce Carol Oates doing the zombie thing (not really) and the latest from Tao Lin.