For Tor.com, Tochi Onyebuchi reflects on his role as a black writer during protests against police brutality and the killing of black men and women. “And there I was, walking past that hollowed-out grocery store that November night, writing. Struggling with the possibility that this writing does nothing,” Onyebuchi notes. “I know it is a thing that brings me joy. I feel useful doing it, even if that feeling is an illusion, smoke keeping me from seeing a difficult truth reflected back at me. Writing will not rebuild that Foodtown that went up in flames that night. It will not restock it with cereal and toilet paper and canola oil. But terror abates when I write.”
New this week: Paul Auster’s latest, Sunset Park; a new collection of short stories from Stephen King called Full Dark, No Stars; The Memory Hole, a memoir by the historian Tony Judt who recently died from ALS (the essays collected here appeared in recent months in the New York Review of Books); and the latest obligatory obfuscatory presidential memoir Decision Points.
“Of all the literary genres, poetry has proved the most resistant to digital technology, not for stodgy cultural reasons but for tricky mechanical ones.” Looks like that might be changing, however, as Open Road releases Flow Chart, Your Name Here and 15 other John Ashbery digital poetry collections.
Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix, announced his retirement yesterday. Since 1977, Uderzo has been the sole author of the popular French comic books, which have sold over 350 million copies worldwide. His successor has yet to be named, though Uderzo said it will be an artist “who has been following us for a long time inside a studio I set up.”
“Megan Gething jumped in to action and tied a pair of shorts around her friend’s leg to slow blood loss, using a tip she learned from the young adult science fiction novels.” A 12-year-old Massachusetts girl used what she read about creating a tourniquet from The Hunger Games to rescue her friend, reports the AP (via Book Riot). Guess the best YA books really do stick with you.
“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.