Ryan Topper writes for Public Books about Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation and rejects the white savior plot that characterizes many child-soldier narratives. Pair with Noah Deutsch’s Millions review of the novel on which the series was based.
Ever since the Man Booker prize was opened up to American writers, there’s been a renewed debate about America’s contributions to the literary scene. Many people have wondered who past Bookers would have gone to had American authors been eligible. At The Guardian, a roundtable including Year in Reading alum Joshua Ferris, Curtis Sittenfeld, Edna O’Brien and Martin Amis pick American books they think would have won if they’d had the chance. You could also read Joanna Scutts on the history of the prize, or check out the most recent Booker shortlist.
LibraryThing has published the catalog of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s personal library. You can check out a list of all 322 titles here (PDF). Meanwhile, from the department of “new books you can actually buy,” New Directions has published their Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 catalog (PDF) as well.
“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.