Out this week: The Census by Jesse Ball; Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith; The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea; Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala; Happiness by Aminatta Forna; and Wrestling with the Devil by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.
“The Books of Magic makes The Lord of the Rings, The Avengers, Harry Potter, and even Twilight all look like entries in the same broad genre of tween-superhero fantasy, in which someone insignificant gets mighty powers, fights the forces of evil, and ultimately triumphs. …The pop culture landscape starts to look like an endless row of Tim Hunters, the same successful formula applied again and again.” From The Atlantic, a look at how Neil Gaiman‘s The Books of Magic prefigured the runaway success of Harry Potter and the modern YA fantasy-adventure craze.
“Familiar, well-behaved stories are dressed in nice book covers and sent to our bookstores; from there they march to our homes in an orderly manner.” On Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and how publishing understands the immigrant narrative. Pair with our review of Adichie’s second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.
Recommended Reading: Return to Oakpine author Ron Carlson’s short story, “How Things Have Actually Changed Since We Did Secede from the United States.”