For the New York Times, Carmen Maria Machado explains why banning books and challenging the ideas within them robs readers of a chance to better understand the world. “Those who seek to ban my book and others like it are trying to exploit fear — fear about the realities that books like mine expose, fear about desire and sex and love — and distort it into something ugly, in an attempt to wish away queer experiences,” Machado writes. “As anyone can tell you — as history can tell you — this is ultimately a fool’s errand. Ideas don’t disappear when they’re challenged; banned books have a funny way of enduring. But that doesn’t mean these efforts are without consequences.”
Researchers have determined that “winning a prestigious prize in the literary world seems to go hand-in-hand with a particularly sharp reduction in ratings of perceived quality.” So if you’re very sensitive, take some solace in the fact that you haven’t won a major award, I guess.
Mystery author James Patterson has written a novel called The Murder of Steven King that apparently describes the eponymous author’s death at the hands of a deranged fan. While King declined to comment on the book, he has in the past said of Patterson that the latter is “a terrible writer but he’s very successful.” And now you must read our editor-in-chief Lydia Kiesling’s essay, “Everything I Know About America I Learned from Stephen King.”
Expert walker and poet Jon Cotner, coauthor of Ten Walks/Two Talks, will lead a set of excursions on NYC streets during the month of June. Walkers will be given two lines to repeat to strangers, in an attempt to break down social barriers: “Anonymity dissolves. Spontaneous societies arise.”