Recommended Reading: The largest publishers of translated works in the United States published less in 2015 than they normally do—503 works of fiction down from 597 from the previous year.
“Good kid m.A.A.d city is a memento mori haunted by dead and living ghosts…When they are pieced together as a sequence they act like Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope: they give us the impression that from these clips we are watching a black boy learn to fly above it all.” Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah looks at hip-hop, Kendrick Lamar, and the tradition of the black blues narrative.
In the nineties, when Jack Livings was teaching English in China, he was gathering material for The Dog, his short story collection that recently won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize. In an interview in the WSJ, he talks about his research process, Chinese idioms and Uighur-Han relations. You could also read Casey Walker’s syllabus for modern China. (h/t The Rumpus)
In a head-scratching piece of writing for the New Statesman, Dave Eggers (whose novel The Circle just cracked our Top Ten) reflects on a cross-country drive he took from Jeddah to Riyadh. The journey, and in particular a comment made by his chauffeur, caused Eggers to ponder the significance of his nationality, his ability to perceive danger, and the intentions of others. The short of it: Some people from other countries are nice. Who knew?
“Where is the black version of Caddie Woodlawn (a 19th-century Wisconsin tomboy) or Harriet the Spy (a 20th-century Upper East Sider), smart, spunky, fictional heroines for the tween crowd?” Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon fictionalize beloved Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston as a girl detective in Zora and Me.