Over at Slate, Mike Vuolo speaks with Bob Garfield about “African-American English,” or, as some might say, “Ebonics.” The two of them explore its history, misconceptions, and whether or not it’s possible or even appropriate for a white writer (such as The Help author Kathryn Stockett) to attempt to write in the dialect of certain African-Americans.
In the 1880s, a group of rural Illinoisans formed a Christian sect that believed that a local woman, Dorinda Beekman, was the new Jesus Christ. When Mrs. Beekman died, a follower of hers claimed that her spirit lived inside him; as the new leader of the sect, he moved his followers into a barn and named it Heaven. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Visel looks back on this odd chapter of history, as well as the novel it inspired. (Related: Eric Shonkwiler on the literature of the Midwest.)
The trailer for City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg’s highly anticipated 944-page debut novel, is finally here. The trailer features a new song by Paul Maroon and Year in Reading alumnus Hamilton Leithauser. Also check out the opening paragraph of the novel.
This year’s Tournament of Books comes to an end today, after nearly a month of analyses, debates and thoughtful arguments. In the final round, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life squares off with James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, both of which are, in Héctor Tobar’s words, “unorthodox, historical novels.” Now that the verdicts are in, the only question is: who won? (You could also read the quarterfinal judged by our own Lydia Kiesling.)