Apparently, great books can be life changing: British prisons have begun using a literature course originally developed in the US and including Shakespeare, Dickens, and Steinbeck to help rehabilitate criminals.
This has nothing to do with books, but if you’re like me, it’s important, life-altering, and worthy of constant news coverage: The Girl Scouts are releasing a new cookie for their 100th Anniversary. The lemony “Savannah Smiles” will commemorate the Scouts’ southern roots. Need help tracking down a box? I suggest the Girl Scout Cookie Locator app for your smartphone.
Well-Read Black Girl, a Brooklyn-based book club and online community celebrating “the uniqueness of Black literature & sisterhood,” has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its inaugural writers’ conference and festival. Past WRBG book club guests include Year in Reading alums Jacqueline Woodson and Angela Flournoy, whom we also interviewed about her debut novel The Turner House.
Nell Zink, whose second novel comes out next week, has one of the lit world’s more unusual origin stories. An expat in Germany, she wrote her first novel in three weeks, after striking up a friendship over email with Jonathan Franzen. In the latest New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz details her story in full. You could also read Emily Gould’s recommendation of her work for Year in Reading.
Jay Rubin, best known as Haruki Murakami’s longtime English translator, is also a novelist in his own right. Last month, he published his debut The Sun Gods, about a Japanese-American couple who meet each other on the eve of World War II. In an interview with The Rumpus, he talks about Murakami, his new book and his interest in Japanese literature. You could also read Ben Dooley on Japanese cell phone novels.