“You should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children,” Ruth Graham wrote in Slate last week, stirring the proverbial pot of new adult fans of Young Adult bestsellers like The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park. A host of YA-defenders rose up to shout her down. “You should never be embarrassed by any book you enjoy,” Hillary Kelly responds in The New Republic, unrealistically (we’re embarrassed by quite a lot). For the Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg cites examples of worthwhile, complex YA fiction we can certainly support: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Pushcart War, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Westing Game.
“denial. A defense mechanism predicated on your inability to accept the painful reality that you are supposed to be reading the selected novel that you literally tried to bury.” At The Toast, Zane Shetler writes a glossary of book club defense mechanisms. Pair with: Our essay on spying on your book club friends.
This weekend–at 2:30 am on Saturday, to be precise–Twitter bot @everyword was set to complete its 7-year run with the final word in the English language: “zymurgy.” Unexpectedly, the bot tweeted again half an hour later–with a nontraditional character it had surreptitiously glossed on the first run: éclair. Since @everyword, like Lazarus, probably won’t get the same fuss after its second death, check out The Guardian’s interview with creator Adam Parrish now.
Claire Vaye Watkins’s essay on pandering has gotten a lot of responses, including one from Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James. Over at NPR, they discuss the issues of sexism and racism in publishing, cultural ventriloquism, narrative authority, and more.
Yea, yea, it’s Charles Dickens’ birthday. I’m sure you’ve heard, or at least been told by Google. But he’s only one artist born on this day. In addition, there’s James Yancey aka J Dilla, one of the most influential hip hop artists and producers of all time.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the possibilities for contemporary war literature, especially in light of the success of Phil Klay‘s Redeployment. Now Flavorwire considers “a crop of fiction that approaches the question of American intelligence, torture, and military intervention slantwise,” particularly Mark Doten’s The Infernal, which was included in our 2015 Book Preview.