Edward “The Godfather” Thorp has been widely recognized as the “father of card counting” since the publication of his bestselling book Beat the Dealer in 1962. Today, at 70 years old, the man’s impact on the card game is ubiquitous, but perhaps nowhere moreso than at Las Vegas’ annual Blackjack Ball.
"Riordan’s books prompt an uneasy interrogation of the premise underlying the 'so long as they’re reading' side of the debate—at least among those of us who want to share Neil Gaiman’s optimistic view that all reading is good reading, and yet find ourselves by disposition closer to the Tim Parks end of the spectrum, worried that those books on our children’s shelves that offer easy gratification are crowding out the different pleasures that may be offered by less grabby volumes." In an essay for The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead considers questions about what children should be reading through the lens of the Percy Jackson series.
New this week is Jonathan Evison's West of Here, Joyce Carol Oates' memoir A Widow's Story about the death of her husband (this was the source of her recent, quite moving essay in the New Yorker), and the expanded rerelease of Alexander Theroux's The Strange Case of Edward Gorey. Also new on shelves from NYRB Classics is Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane, with an introduction by Phillip Lopate, who discussed Fontane in our Year in Reading in December.
Editing poetry can be tricky, and the work is often misunderstood. Many of the best houses leave the work to the experts: actual poets. But is that the best route? Indeed, as this Telegraph article puts it, "a house’s tone and fortunes can be radically altered depending on the poet in charge of the poems of others."
"While men weren’t looking, women built a genre that tackles love, sex, pleasure, class, money, feminism, masculinity, and equality." Jamie Green writes for Buzzfeed about how romance novels have gotten more feminist over the years (and still getting a happily ever after) and people are now starting to sit up and take notice.
Recommended Viewing: Toni Morrison spoke with Junot Díaz at the New York Public Library last week, and the organizers were good enough to record the entire conversation and put it online. The talk begins at the 40:09 mark, so you can either fast forward or click this link right here.
In 2013, only 93 of 3,200 children's books were about black characters, according to a new study. "Children of color remain outside the boundaries of imagination," Christopher Myers writes about the absence. In a follow-up piece, his father and fellow author Walter Dean Myers examines the paralyzing effect under-representation can have on readers. "Books did not become my enemies. They were more like friends with whom I no longer felt comfortable. I stopped reading," he writes.