A number of the best essays from the last year on The Millions have been nominated for the 3 Quarks Daily 2010 Arts & Literature Prize. We need your votes to get these Millions essays through to the next round! Please take a few seconds and vote for your favorite. Then tell your friends and family to vote too!
Everyone’s favorite scrappy San Fransisco literary web site, The Rumpus, has relaunched with a major redesign. Go over and poke around why don’t you? If you’re looking for a place to start, why not Roxane Gay’s recent essay on the New York Times Book Review section’s dismal numbers when it comes to reviewing books written by people of color?
“Young black fiction writers in the U.S. often face a strange obstacle as they try to figure out who they are — it’s called American literature. A high number of pre-civil-rights-era novels by white American writers are likely to include tossed-off racial slurs and/or stock black characters, some of which make racially conscious readers want to hurl the book across the room, even if the wooly-headed pickaninnies are only peeking around a doorjamb on one page out of 400. There are exceptions, but shockingly few. You always have to brace yourself — always.” James Hannaham writes about growing up in Yonkers but finding himself in Southern literature.
David Satter’s It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway gets reviewed for The Daily Beast. The book is a “sweeping study of how the former Soviet Union’s bloody past continues to poison Russia’s present and threatens to strangle the country’s future.”