Man Booker Prize-winner Marlon James is finished talking about diversity, and here’s part of his logic: “A panel on diversity is like a panel on world peace. It should be seeking a time when we no longer need such panels. It should be a panel actively working towards its own irrelevance. The fact that we’re still having them not only means that we continue to fail, but the false sense of accomplishment in simply having one is deceiving us into thinking that something was tried.”
Last semester, at UC Riverside, the novelist Susan Straight began the class “Mixed-Race Literature and the American Experience” with a simple question: “How many of you are often asked, What are you?” In an essay about the class, she relates what they learned, which includes the observation that hair is weirdly important in America. (Related: The Millions published an essay by Straight on Toni Morrison’s Sula.)
At The Guardian, the intriguing case of historian Orlando Figes and his wife’s savage Amazon reviews of her husband’s rivals’ books. The case begs the question: should Amazon allow anonymous reviews?
“To be able to sing under that kind of oppression I think, in a lot of ways, is the very essence of survival, of a people, of the ability to have to the hope to make something beautiful amongst so much wretchedness.” Tyehimba Jess, author of the fantastic new collection of poetry Olio, is interviewed over at The Literary Hub.
We’ve mentioned the “What books have stayed with you?” social media trend before, and now Facebook has tallied up the most popular titles by country. The results are both exactly what you would expect – The Little Prince ranks high in France, One Hundred Years of Solitude fairs well in Latin America – and a little surprising as the Harry Potter series tops the list in countries ranging from India to Italy to Brazil.
“Ideas are interesting to me, and religions are a place where ideas have been very subtly embodied for thousands of years. All literature started as sacred literature.” Alexandra Alter interviews Salman Rushdie about his brand-new novel, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights.
Make sure to set the DVR to C-SPAN2 this weekend because Konstantin Kakaes will be talking about our own e-book original The Pioneer Detectives at 7:30 p.m. EST on Sunday. Also, listen to Kakaes discuss what happens when scientists are faced with a discovery that challenges their fundamental beliefs in gravity on the New America Foundation podcast.