“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.
“He is a man who has written a lot about politics and knows something about expectation-setting — set the bar low, and it’ll be easy to top it.” The Awl rounds up its review series of online Masterclasses with such esteemed personages as Aaron Sorkin, James Patterson, and Werner Herzog. See also: our own Sonya Chung‘s review of Sorkin’s film The Social Network.
Alison Mudditt, director of The University of California Press, has announced the suspension of the New California Poetry series due to state budget cuts and the challenges posed to “our industry and markets which (not unlike the newspaper industry!) require us to rethink and retool to remain a vibrant and relevant voice in the digital age.”
Zadie Smith’s On Beauty takes home the Orange Prize.Map of the New Yorker caption contest winners. (via emdashes)Abebooks has put together some special pages celebrating its 10th anniversary. Check out Powers of 10 – which includes the list of most expensive books ever sold on the site – and the timeline, which shows what the site looked like at its humble beginnings. (thanks Laurie.)
While on the publicity tour for his latest book, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, Michael Lewis stops by NPR‘s “Fresh Air” to talk Greece, the Euro, California’s “third world problems,” and the Occupy Wall Street protests. The author also gets a nice write-up in the latest New York Magazine, and his interview on last night’s “The Daily Show” ran so long, they had to put the full version online. (Start “The Daily Show”‘s clip at ~21:50 for the interview.)