“My idea of the ideal literary dinner party remains locking a book under my left wrist while conveying risotto to my mouth with my right at the kitchen table.” Stacy Schiff talks literary dinner parties and more in this week’s New York Times By the Book column. Schiff’s latest, The Witches: Salem, 1692, is out this week.
"Welcome to the resistance, bunny." Currently sold out on Amazon after topping the book charts for days, The New Yorker writes about John Oliver's charming children's book, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. Pair with: an essay about reconnecting with childhood favorites as a parent.
New releases this week: All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang, “a writing-school success story” according to the New York Times in its review, Obama’s Wars, the latest book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward, Listen to This, a collection of essays published by music critic Alex Ross during his 12-year career at The New Yorker, and (almost new) is David Grossman’s To the End of the Land, as reviewed by Rayyan Al-Shawaf for The Millions.
"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.
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.