Right on the edge of Banned Books Week, Rainbow Rowell discusses when Minneapolis’s Anoka-Hennepin school district, the county board, and the local library board censored her from coming to speak about her YA novel Eleanor & Park. “When these people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like they’re saying that rising above your situation isn’t possible,” she says.
Brontë for babies? Board books, those small, sturdy volumes with the glossy cardboard “pages” – generally featuring rounded corners so babies who are teething don’t cut their gums or poke out their eyes, are getting ludicrous. A new series, we’re told on the back covers, “is a fashionable way to introduce your child to the world of classic literature.”
The estimable New York Times Magazine profiled Patricia Lockwood this week, and in the process printed the phrase “tit-pics” for probably the first time in the Grey Lady’s history. Lockwood’s name should be no stranger to Millions readers, of course, as I’ve previously steered readers’ attention toward The Poet Laureate of Twitter’s works in the past (such as this one, and this one, and this one, too.) As a bonus, Dwight Garner reviewed her latest collection, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, for the paper as well.
In 2010, the poet Tarfia Faizullah traveled to Bangladesh to speak with the survivors of the 1971 Liberation War. Eventually, she wrote a poetry collection about those interviews, which went on to win the Crab Orchard Series First Book Award. At The Paris Review Daily, Sean Carman interviews Faizullah.
“Writing difference is a challenge, particularly in fiction. How do men write women and vice versa? How do writers of one race or ethnicity write about people of another race or ethnicity? More important, how do writers tackle difference without reducing their characters to caricatures or stereotypes?” Roxane Gay reviews Joyce Carol Oates‘s The Sacrifice and simultaneously explains how to write difference well. Hint: it “demands empathy, an ability to respect the humanity of those you mean to represent.”
“None of us made love, we had only reproaches for one another. I hated that dependency and yet I couldn’t live without it.” This short piece by Mercè Rodoreda from the new issue of Harper’s Magazine is brutal and surprising. The piece is an excerpt from Rodoreda’s War, So Much War, out later this month.
“I’ve come to understand that I’ll rarely experience that first rush of discovery again, and perhaps that’s the problem with re-reading. It reminds us both of where we’ve been and where we can’t go again.” Sarah Seltzer wonders why do we reread books as children but not as adults? Pair with Lisa Levy‘s essay on “The Pleasures and Perils of Rereading.”