“Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do,” he said. “Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.” Read an excerpt from the Black Lives Matter–inspired YA novel The Hate U Give by A. C. Thomas, scheduled for release next June. See also some of our favorite writers on their favorite political writing, or our review of Nate Marshall’s poetry collection, Wild Hundreds, which critic Emmanuel N. Adolf Alzuphar called “the foremost articulation of contemporary blackness’s dynamism in literature.”
Recommended Listening: Ben Lerner stops by The New Yorker’s fiction podcast to discuss “Woven, Sir,” a story by John Berger.
Good news! According to Vinson Cunningham’s new essay in The New Yorker, beauty merely “masks and perfumes … it freezes moral categories in place,” whereas ugliness, on the other hand, “is sometimes the closest thing to the truth.” Wait, is that good news? Bonus: Vinson wrote a Year in Reading piece for us.
Poor Robert Frost can’t catch a break. Last month, we wrote about the Kansas man who stole a bronze bust of the poet. Now, a Vermont man has been charged with stealing Frost’s personal letters and Christmas cards that were left in a desk donated to the non-profit where he worked. He also sold them for $25,000 but only has to pay an $100 fine.
“I do not wish to presume. I want to love. Oh God please make my mind clear.” It’s no secret that Flannery O’Connor was both an incredible writer and a devout Catholic. The New Yorker has just published a few excerpts from her Prayer Journal which are characteristically beautiful whether or not you’re a believer.