Reading Kids, TV Railroads, and the Cancellation of Dr. Seuss: Last Week in Books, February 21st -27th

Two children reading underneath a blanket tent. One child is dark-skinned and curly-haired. The other is Asian, with long black hair and a middle part. They are giggling.

The titles of these get more and more fun to write every week.

  • First, some good news: a 10 year old boy named Joziah Jason in Ypsilanti, Michigan has started a podcast bookclub for his fellow elementary school students. I listened to one episode and it’s equal parts inspiring and adorable. Check it out for yourself. [via MLive]
  • Perhaps Joziah might find this interesting; African-Futurist writer Nnedi Okorafor has written a female Nigerian version of Marvel’s Venom into the latest run of Black Panther. [via Bleeding Cool]
  • Across the pond, Black British writers are confronting stereotypes and embracing culture in the anthology Loud Black Girls. The opening quote? “Black women will always be too loud for a world that never intended on listening to them.” Preach. [via Black Girl Nerds]
  • Another exciting book release is Viet Thanh Nguyen’s long-awaited follow-up to The Sympathizer, The Committed. Junot Diaz’s review(he’s back!) says it “draws its true enchantment — and its immense power — from the propulsive, wide-ranging intelligence of our narrator as he Virgils us through his latest descent into hell. That he happens to be as funny as he is smart is the best plus of all.” Can’t wait! [via The New York Times]

From here, let’s talk about a few upcoming film and tv adaptations, shall we?

  • Walter Mosley’s series about hard-boiled Black detective Easy Rawlins is getting a retry as a television series via Amblin Television. While Denzel Washington was a fantastic Easy on the big screen in 1995, there are a whole host of young actors coming up with the chops to do him justice again. Looking forward to this one. [via Variety]
  • On the other hand, I really didn’t care for Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad, award-winning or not. However, the upcoming series adaptation is getting a lot of positive buzz and the trailer is interesting. I’ll give it a look to see if the overarching concept translates well to film. Plus, Barry Jenkins is directing and he can do very little wrong so…[via Rolling Stone]

There’s a few older articles making the social media rounds lately that I think are worth re-highlighting this week as well.

  • One is about Celeste Ng, literary fiction writer responsible for the very popular Little Fires Everywhere and her apparent distaste for Asian men. While I personally can’t pinpoint why this has become a hot topic again and I have no stake or deep knowledge of the issues the article raises, I find it an interesting example of how literature, and those who create it shed light on deeper cultural issues in ways that they don’t often expect. I’m sure there’s some deep literary theory that expresses the sentiment, but for us laypeople, all this says is that while I’ve never read a book by Ng, the fact that she wrote those books has given her a big enough impact on culture that I never really need to. [via Plan A Magazine]
  • The other is about classic children’s author Dr. Seuss. School districts have been sensibly phasing out his work in light of revelations about his racist past and caricature work and the response has been rather shrill. This article on NPR is from 2019, but still gives the best overview of the problem and potential approaches and solutions in our developing anti-racist world. [via NPR]

That’s that for diverse bookish news this week, beautiful people. March is coming–read something good!

(As always, thanks for reading, beautiful people. You know the drill: here is where I tell you that this blog has affiliate relationships with lovely sites such as Bookshop and if you click and make a purchase at any link you find on these pages, a commission might be earned. It helps us keep the virtual lights on, so thanks in advance. Peace!)

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