“Young black fiction writers in the U.S. often face a strange obstacle as they try to figure out who they are — it’s called American literature. A high number of pre-civil-rights-era novels by white American writers are likely to include tossed-off racial slurs and/or stock black characters, some of which make racially conscious readers want to hurl the book across the room, even if the wooly-headed pickaninnies are only peeking around a doorjamb on one page out of 400. There are exceptions, but shockingly few. You always have to brace yourself — always.” James Hannaham writes about growing up in Yonkers but finding himself in Southern literature.
“There is always something lost, or exchanged, when the imagined world evoked by the written word, unique for every reader, is replaced by a provided set of visual references. In this particular case, the artist is faced with translating the unbelievable, even the metaphysical, into visual imagery, and within a relatively constrained form.” Jenna Brager on Hope Larson’s graphic novel adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.
While the federal government is turning to video games to get kids into the math and sciences, back in the day comic books provided a near-direct link to young minds. But the medium wasn’t warmly received by the older generation (sound familiar?), and the company debated whether it was worth taking a hit with parents in order to appeal to their kids.
Two newlyweds who hated The Little Prince held their marriage reception in the restaurant where Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote the book. Read about how their experience changed their opinions of the book. You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s essay on non-traditional marriage proposals in literature.
Out this week: Ember Days by our own Nick Ripatrazone, Early Warning by Jane Smiley; Madam President by The View co-host Nicolle Wallace; Black Run by Antonio Manzini; Devotion by Maile Meloy; Collected Poems by Michael Gizzi; Volume 5 of The Letters of T.S. Eliot; and Book 4 of My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.