The winners of the 2017 Kirkus Prize have been announced: Lesley Nneka Arimah‘s What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky for fiction; Jack E. Davis‘s The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea for non-fiction; and Cherie Dimaline‘s The Marrow Thieves for young reader’s literature. See also: Arimah’s short story collection was on our 2017 Great Book Preview.
Jonathan Dent offers a fascinating look at one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most challenging assignments for the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently as a young philologist, Tolkien was tasked with tracing the etymology of “walrus” – a tricky word “of disputed origin that had all but entirely replaced the earlier English name morse since its first appearance in English in the late 1600s.”
“It is early August. A black man is shot by a white policeman. And the effect on the community is of “a lit match in a tin of gasoline.” No, this is not Ferguson, MO.” Laila Lalami reports for NPR on rereading James Baldwin‘s Notes of a Native Son in the context of Ferguson. Pair with Teju Cole‘s essay in The New Yorker about rereading Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village.”
For every reader who grew up enamored with LeVar Burton‘s now-cancelled PBS show, Reading Rainbow, there’s fresh hope. A Kickstarter campaign to create a spin-off, web-based version of Reading Rainbow that aims to spread literacy to children in under-served schools was launched yesterday and has already received a significant portion of its funding goal. While there are some concerns about the project, the nostalgia factor is incredibly strong, and who doesn’t want to spread the love of reading to children?
Librarians might frown on P.D.A. in the library, that is, Public Displays of Affection by canoodling college couples. But another kind of P.D.A. might bring a different, more welcome sort of disruption to the library: Patron-Driven Acquisition, a model of e-book licensing that aims to relieve library purchasing agents from spending thousands on books nobody will end up reading.
“We always try to create the worst opinion of everything there is in the United States, as a response to what they have always done with us. The only difference is that we do not write falsehoods about the United States. I told you that we emphasize the worst things, that we omit things that could be viewed as positive, but we do not invent any lies.” This excerpted interview with Fidel Castro over at The Paris Review is enlightening for its candor and frankness.