“The call isn’t for a literature to, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has described, stop people from hitting us. […] But for a multiplicity of presence. A mingling, if not an acceptance, of a duality of presence. The right to be average. For the black guys in our literary fiction, if nowhere else, to be given the benefit of the doubt.” Over at the Ploughshares blog, Bryan Washington makes a case for inclusion in literary fiction.
To encourage first edition sales of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, his publishers are going to include “a special sheet of stickers designed by five Japanese illustrators.” If that sounds as corny to you as it does to me, then consider the fact that the book likely does not need any real marketing strategy whatsoever: when it came out in Japan, it sold over a million copies per week.
The cartoonist Joe Sacco has a new graphic novel out that uses a twenty-four-foot panorama to depict the first day of the Battle of the Somme. At Salon, Sacco tells Daniel D'Addario that his upbringing in Australia, where the landings at Gallipoli have great patriotic significance, helped to spur his interest in the War to End All Wars. (Related: we interviewed Sacco last year.)
Earlier this month, Ta-Nahisi Coates published a conversation-changing long form article on race and reparations in The Atlantic (we covered other pundits' responses here). Now, he is blogging a brief bibliography of the sources he consulted while writing that seminal essay. Parts one and two are available now, with two more installments planned for today and tomorrow. Whether or not you agree with Coates, it's a fantastic reading list on race relations in America.
Emily Harnett writes about Elena Ferrante’s bad book covers and how it embraces “women’s fiction” as a genre. As she puts it, “In a literary marketplace where the very image of a woman is seen as antithetical to literature, Ferrante’s covers take an important stand.” Pair with Cora Currier’s essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s books.