Recommended Reading: Nathan Scott McNamara writes for The Atlantic on why we need indie publishers. “Eighty percent of U.S. books are produced by the Big Five publishers, but with each passing year—and with a stable small number of annual releases—independent presses are earning more of the literary conversation, gaining frequent articles and reviews in The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and more.” You could also read Rebecca J. Novelli’s thoughts on Roberto Calasso’s The Art of the Publisher.
Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s moving speech at The Sunday Times Literary Awards in which he speaks about the resilience of literature and the necessity of keeping less-popular languages alive is now available online. (Here’s our handy guide to pronouncing the author’s name, in case you were too embarrassed to ask.)
Is readability a myth? In an article for The Atlantic Noah Berlatsky argues that there are no “easy” or “difficult” books, or rather that these are relative terms – a book that gives one person fits may be light reading for someone else. His argument pairs interestingly with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson‘s “Difficult Books” series.
In one of the most delightful photography projects of late, authors have dressed up as their favorite children’s book characters for Cambridge Jones’s 26 Characters exhibition at The Story Museum. Neil Gaiman looks particularly dashing as Badger from The Wind in the Willows. The exhibition will run from April 5 to November 2 in Oxford, U.K.
Out this week: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler; The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver; As Good as Gone by Larry Watson; Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay; My Last Continent by Midge Raymond; and The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Just in time for crawfish season (and ruined outfits as a result of crawfish season), The Oxford American‘s launched its newest column, Parish Chic, brought to you by L. Kasimu Harris. It’s meant to prominently showcase the beaucoup styles on display in New Orleans, Harris’ hometown. You can read about the project’s background and inspiration over at Gambit: The Best of New Orleans.