At Electric Literature, Jennifer Baker recommends twelve mystery novels starring diverse sleuths. Her list includes Blanche Passes Go, the final book in Barbara Neely’s groundbreaking series, as well as Nancy Jooyoun Kim’s The Last Story of Mina Lee and David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s Winter Counts, which were featured in our Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2020 Book Preview. “When BIPOC characters are the stars of mystery and crime novels, there’s no doubt we’ll be privy to the complexity of how race affects their quest for a solution,” Baker writes. “The layers of this make for stories of power, inequity, and frustrations ready to boil over.”
“As I read her words, I experienced a feeling previously unknown to me: recognition. I had always turned to books for pleasure, as portals to other places. Reading The Woman Warrior, for the first time I saw myself on every page and in every word.” For Catapult, Alexis Cheung writes about representation, being an Asian-American writer, and reading and interviewing Maxine Hong Kingston. From our archives: Kingston’s work was featured in Alexander Chee‘s 2015 Year in Reading.
Julia Child fans may enjoy a new collection of her correspondence with her friend and “unofficial literary agent” Avis DeVoto. The letters follow Child through her life overseas. Also out now is a snazzy new Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray with a cover illustrated by Ruben Toledo.
“As you can see here, it’s all about desire and longing.” Yes it is, Ragnar, yes it is. Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson is fascinated by what he calls “the oppressiveness of western culture claustrophobia.” His newest work, Bonjour, has shifted focus to poke fun at the ways in which the rest of the world elevates French sensibilities.
“[I]t becomes an act of subversion, an act of catharsis.” Plougshares has a piece about the Lolita aesthetic on Tumblr. See also: our conversation with John Gall who, as art director for Vintage and Anchor books, was responsible for at least two Lolita covers, not to mention the redesign of the entire Nabokov catalog.