A dissection of Jonathan Franzen’s recent New Yorker essay on David Foster Wallace finds Franzen’s wires showing.
The Ripped Bodice (the only bookstore in the United States dedicated solely to romance books) released a report looking at the state of diversity in 2016 romance novels. Last year there were only 7.8 published romance novels by writers of color for every 100 books from 20 major romance publishing companies. “Of particular concern is the suggestion, as revealed by the study, that publishers are not reflecting their readership base with any kind of parity. According to Pew Research, black women with college degrees are more likely to read a book than any other group. Since romance readers are approximately 84 percent female, this suggests there is a large swath of the population who don’t see themselves represented in authors or protagonists.” Entertainment Weekly highlights some major takeaways from the survey, read the rest of the appalling stats and then go support romance writers of color.
Caitlin Flanagan’s long Atlantic piece on Joan Didion has sparked a lot of conversation. Among the article’s contentious lines: “to really love Joan Didion … you have to be female.”
There was a time, believe it or not, when poets made appearances on widely-seen American talk shows. That time was the fifties and sixties, when Carl Sandburg appeared on The Today Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now. (He also gave a speech before Congress and competed on What’s My Line?)
Ad-driven e-books may be something we’ll all have to deal with in the future. At the Melville House blog, Dustin Kurtz explains why ads that pop up while a person is reading might well be an inevitable development. (If you’re like me, your reaction to this is simple: ugh.)
Read this interview with Mary H.K. Choi where she discusses her novel, Emergency Contact, and how it offers a more modern (2010s) portrayal of Asian American mother-daughter relationships. “Choi’s novel blows up Asian female stereotypes and prods readers to question their own cultural biases about women of color. For instance: Not all Asian moms are like Lane Kim’s in “Gilmore Girls.” Not all of them own antique shops or dry cleaners, care singularly about grades and won’t let their baby tiger cubs date until they’ve finished graduate school.”