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.”
“The wish to be a writer, and the will to be one, solve nothing about how you will live, and don’t even solve anything about how you will write. You have given yourself the vaguest designation.” Kristy Eldredge writes for The Rumpus about drawing inspiration from the unconventional career choices of Year in Reading alum Geoff Dyer, including the New York Times column he almost never wrote. Pair her essay with our own Janet Potter‘s review of Dyer’s latest full-length work, Another Great Day at Sea.
On a more optimistic note, New Directions, New York City’s inestimable and long struggling (but “long dazzling!”) publishing house, will be throwing itself a 75th birthday party on Thursday, October 27. (They just redesigned their website and colophon, too.)
“The only way to avenge all the things white people did to you was to get your kid into Harvard. You bided your time. You worked your ass off, day after day, year after year.” Our own Marie Myung-Ok Lee has a new short story in Joyland called “La Piñata” (and of course you can also read her in these pages, too).