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.
“Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising ‘to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,’ though he was typically vague about his actual plans.” The New York Times‘ Michiko Kakutani writes a review of Volker Ullrich‘s new Hitler biography, Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, so timely it could easily be an op-ed. Just read it. And when you’re done, read this too.
“I don’t want to settle for distraction; I want to look forward to reading my book with the palpitating excitement of a second date with someone I’ve already fallen for. I want to miss my stop. Ideally, I’ll miss a few.” While it can be easy to spot a beach, airplane, or cabin read, Adam Sternbergh‘s writes about finding the perfect “subway read” for the New York Times. From our archives: our own Nick Ripatrazone‘s essay on reading and writing on trains.
Meet Shondaland, a new website created by Shonda Rhimes and dedicated to storytelling that launched this week. One of their most recent posts highlights 28 books to read this fall. We know there’s a lot of reading recommendation lists around this time of year (like our September preview) but we appreciate the diversity of this list in particular and its willingness to hold back judgment if we don’t finish all the suggestions. Pair with our interview with Jesmyn Ward (whose Sing, Unburied Sing made the list), along with Year in Reading alum Eleanor Henderson’s Twelve Mile Straight.
“Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—T. S. Eliot is of this type.” President Obama wrote these words as a twenty-two-year-old student, but Edward Mendelson argues that Obama’s words as a literary critic reveal his tendencies as a politician. Check out our own Michael Bourne’s review of Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss, where Obama’s letter was originally published.
If eight Harry Potter movies weren’t enough, we can expect three new Warner Brothers films about J.K. Rowling’s spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The trilogy will feature the magical zoologist Newt Scamander as he goes on adventures in New York 70 years prior to the Potter characters.
Eleanor Catton just became the youngest person ever to win a Man Booker, but we were fans of her long before. Our own Emily St. John Mandel included Catton’s debut novel The Rehearsal on her list of disorienting reads. Paul Murray also recommended the book on his 2012 Year in Reading.