“Young black fiction writers in the U.S. often face a strange obstacle as they try to figure out who they are — it’s called American literature. A high number of pre-civil-rights-era novels by white American writers are likely to include tossed-off racial slurs and/or stock black characters, some of which make racially conscious readers want to hurl the book across the room, even if the wooly-headed pickaninnies are only peeking around a doorjamb on one page out of 400. There are exceptions, but shockingly few. You always have to brace yourself — always.” James Hannaham writes about growing up in Yonkers but finding himself in Southern literature.
Out this week: Eat Only When You’re Hungry by Lindsay Hunter; The Locals by Jonathan Dee; Rebellion by Molly Patterson; Red Light Run by Baird Harper; Darkansas by Jarret Middleton; and Double Portrait by Brittany Perham. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
As part of the ongoing Miami Book Fair International festivities, WLRN is giving readers a chance to co-author a story with Junot Díaz. Beginning at 5pm today, they will tweet out the first line to a story—provided by Díaz—from their Twitter account. Then readers will use the hashtag “#WLRNStory” to add onto Díaz’s line, and later each other’s lines, and ultimately the entire thing will unfurl before them.
Admit it, at one point or another you had a certain idea of what a writer’s life looks like. What comes to mind when someone says “I’m a writer?” You may picture a struggling hipster artist who lives in a smal apartment with books everywhere and does nothing but read and write. Rosalie Knecht explores the fascinating idea that we associate certain specific images with the writer lifestyle based off an Anthropologie catalogue. Not convinced? Read it for yourself.
“It’s possible that when it comes to books, we have overestimated the means of delivery and have underestimated the importance of the content conveyed in the media.” A recent study demonstrated that preschoolers demonstrated the same level of reading comprehension regardless of whether the story they were, ahem, consuming came in digital or analog form, reports MOBY Lives. For more on the print vs. screen debate, see Alix Christie on the persistence of physical books; and of course it would be criminal not to mention our own founder C. Max Magee‘s killer compilation The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books.