“After years of reading, teaching, and writing about the book, though, I’ve come to believe that… our understanding of what is comic and what is serious in Huck Finn says more about America in the last century than America in the time Twain wrote the book.” Andrew Levy writes for Salon about childhood, race, and “dedicated amnesia” in Mark Twain‘s controversial classic.
Happy first birthday to Emily Books! The Observer ran a little recap of the book club-slash-store’s lascivious first anniversary party, where Kate Zambreno and Tamara Faith Berger both read from their recent novels. Here’s the Million’s interview with Zambreno, and here’s a #LitBeat from one of Berger’s previous readings from her steamy wonder of a novel, Maidenhead.
Our own Lydia Kiesling writes for The New Yorker about workplace fiction by women. As she puts it, “If the author is a woman, workplace fiction is also domestic fiction, easily disguised as ‘chick lit,’ ‘girlfriend literature,’ or even ‘erotica.’ Regardless of the packaging, these books provide mapping, contextualizing, and rich illustration of women’s working lives.” For more of her writing, check out her essay on the San Francisco housing market for The Millions.
Nowadays, Lord of the Flies is a byword for savagery, a book that illustrates more potently than any other just how low it’s possible for humanity to sink. In The Guardian, Robert McCrum ties the book’s conception to the second World War, arguing that its view of the world was “unimaginable” without Nazi Europe.
We’re pleased as punch to introduce Millions readers to our new interns, Carolyn Quimby and Ariana Valderrama. Arianna is originally from Chicago but is currently based in Washington, D.C. where she works in communications. In high school she started a book blog, Reading in Color, where she reviewed over 200 middle grade and young adult books about people of color. On her nightstand right now: Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Carolyn works in academic publishing by day and is a freelance writer and book reviewer by night. Sometimes she dreams about going on a road trip solely dedicated to visiting bookstores, but mostly she tweets at @CarolynQuimby. Currently on her nightstand: Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. We couldn’t be happier to have Carolyn and Ariana on board!
Well-Read Black Girl, a Brooklyn-based book club and online community celebrating “the uniqueness of Black literature & sisterhood,” has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its inaugural writers’ conference and festival. Past WRBG book club guests include Year in Reading alums Jacqueline Woodson and Angela Flournoy, whom we also interviewed about her debut novel The Turner House.