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.”
Not familiar with Zora Neale Hurston or just need to brush up in preparation for her birthday? Liz Dwyer has got you covered. “Through the #MeToo movement we’ve read the stories of how calling out sexual harassment and the patriarchy has ruined women’s careers. Similarly, Hurston was shunned and derided by many of her male compatriots in the Harlem Renaissance for creating one of the first strong, black, and sexually aware female protagonists of 20th century American fiction.” Hooked yet? After you finish, read this essay by our own Jeffrey Colvin on visiting Zora’s birthplace and his sister.
“Everywhere you turn, are you surrounded by fools, by boring nonentities, by faceless masses and foes and suckers and, indeed, jerks?” If so–as this insightful if somewhat confidence-shattering piece at Aeon suggests–the jerk may be you.
Now that we’ve casted the film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, we’d like to turn your attention to Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s Americanah, which may be involved in an upcoming collaboration with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. Adichie framed the possibility this way in a recent interview: “I’m going to do the mysterious thing and say that Lupita might be making an announcement very soon.”
Attn Twitterers: Some folks have been following me @cmaxmagee, but starting today we’ll be using @The_Millions for the occasional books- and Millions-related “tweet.” If you are the twittering type, throw a “follow” our way (and spread the word). (Thanks to my brother Phil for securing and holding onto @The_Millions until I finally got around to using it.)
This week in the New Yorker Jane Hu analyzes the “dispassionate first-person narrators” prominent in works by English-speaking Asian authors and questions whether that makes it easier to identify with the narrator. She uses Chemistry by NBA 5 under 35 honoree Weike Wang as an example along with other recent works. “Against this tradition, there is, perhaps, another emerging, of Asian-Anglophone writers who both play with and thus begin to undo these tropes of Asian impersonality. The novels by Ishiguro, Park, Lin, and Wang all feature first-person narrators who keep their distance—actively denying readers direct interior access. This is true, it’s important to note, even when the characters they write are not themselves Asian.”