Add this to the list of incredible things you didn’t know you needed until now. At Quartz, Jenni Avins reads through a selection of hand-typed book reviews, found in the NYPL’s archives, in which librarians tear apart children’s books they find objectionable. Sample quote, from a review of Green Eggs and Ham: “There must be better ways of teaching a child to read than this.”
Out this week: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney; The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson; The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan; Terrible Virtue by Ellen Feldman; Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett; and Hold Still by Lynn Steger Strong. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Canonical literature isn’t the only way to learn about America. The bestseller list can be equally as telling. Matthew Kahn is reading 100 years of No. 1 bestsellers from 1913 to 2013. He blogs about the books and discusses the project in an interview with Salon’s Laura Miller. When Miller asks what makes a bestseller, he claims, “A lot of it is just a matter of accessibility. A focus on plot and character rather than structure and the prose itself.”
Year in Reading alum Helen Oyeyemi has a new novel on shelves this week, as does New Yorker 20 Under 40 honoree Dinaw Mengestu. Also out: Mount Terminus by David Grand; Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley; Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun and Beauty by Frederick Dillen.
Yesterday, I wrote that I “[had] yet to read a comprehensive debunking” of B.R. Myers. For those still interested, I’ve been directed to some candidates: Meghan O’Rourke (2001), Daniel Green (2007), the Washington City Paper (2010, concerning neocon ideology and the shadowy RAND corporation), and part I of Steven Moore‘s The Novel: An Alternative History.