A few weeks ago, I pointed you to this piece on the surprising racism of children’s books. The essay was a response to controversy surrounding the rescinded publication of Ramin Ganeshram’s A Birthday Cake for George Washington, which upset readers with its confusing, cheerful illustrations and alleged misrepresentation of the nature of slavery. Over at The Guardian Ganeshram defends herself and addresses the problem of cover design versus author intent.
“‘I want to meet POETS,’ I typed. Beneath my earnest headline, I described how I yearned for a workshop buddy who wrote contemporary verse, someone who wasn’t afraid to give and accept feedback. I also asked for a sample poem, just to weed out the people I didn’t jive with stylistically.” On forging friendships with poets from Denise K. James at The Rumpus.
Over the course of a half-century, Vladimir Nabokov wrote hundreds of letters to his wife Vera, which are being published in book form this week for the first time. Among other things, they reveal the absurd pet names he invented for her (such as Goosykins and Monkeykins) and display Nabokov musing over whether or not to borrow a friend’s castle for the summer. Also worth reading: our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
"Who am I in the face of the Universe if not just a bro who wants to get stuff done?" Tim Goessling tried living a day according to Benjamin Franklin's schedule listed in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. What was his biggest takeaway? We should self-evaluate and set goals more.
"As a Pulitzer winner, it’s a unicorn." For the Washington Post, book critic Ron Charles praised the Pulitzer Prize judges for awarding the Fiction prize to Andrew Sean Greer's Less, a comedic, "laugh-till-you-can't-breathe funny" novel. Pair with: our post with all the 2018 Pulitzer winners.