Last Week In Books: All My Ruff Ryders, Meet Me Outside

It’s rare that I use this space to highlight anyone outside of the world of literature, but I think I have to make an exception this week for Earl Simmons, aka DMX. While he did pen an autobiography, he wasn’t known for his book. Still, he lived a dichotomous, tortured, nakedly expressive life on par with many other literary greats and he had a way with words, rhymes, story and culture, as evinced by this quatrain:

You wack, you’re twisted, your girl’s a hoe
You’re broke, the kid ain’t yours, and e’rybody know
Your old man say you stupid, you be like, “So?
I love my baby mother, I never let her go”

~ DMX, “Party Up”

I know I do a lot of jokey-jokes and snarky-snark on these internets, but this time I’m (mostly) serious. Rest well, Dark Man X.

I missed out on last week’s usual blog because I lost the time war, so there’s quite a few links ahead. Buckle up!

  • Apparently they’re building a housing development on the famed moors featured in Wuthering Heights and other British literary classics. Cultural significance and tourism revenue aside, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live there. [LitHub]
  • Charles Yu is rapidly becoming one of my favorite contemporary writers. In this op-ed for the LA Times, he rejects the overarching story of American racism–leading to its recent conclusion in the terrorism in Atlanta–while spinning the foundations of the one he hopes replaces it. The best part is where he rejects the Asian assimilation myth. More of this positive imagination in print, please! [Los Angeles Times]
  • I just started following literary prizes and what they mean a few years ago and still am not entirely sure what I am talking about or why I should care when they’re brought up in bookish conversations. Still, I’ve been watching the International Booker Prizes–given to novel in translation, published in the UK or Ireland–with particular interest this year. This is because the nominees include writers from China(Can Xue and Chen Zeping), Senegal(David Diop) and 83-year old Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, who looks absolutely fantastic for his age and translated his novel The Perfect Nine into English from his native Gikuyu. Thiong’o is the first nominee for this prize writing in a native African language, to which I say again–more of this! [via International Bookers, The Guardian]
  • Okay, a couple of deeply dystopic publishing and distribution news quickies; Canadian libraries are facing a funding cut for accessible books for disabled readers. Also, a company called Epic is mining children’s online data under the guise of content customization.Yikes. [via BookRiot, LitHub]
  • I feel like every week I should just include a feature entitled “Indigenous Writers Are Killin’ The Game” because they are and my bookshelves are loving the expansion. Blackfoot writer Sterling HolyWhiteMountain‘s recently published piece “Featherweight” is a wonderfully complex examination of the culture shock that young Indigenous people encounter when going to “mainstream” higher education institutions, and how it frames and shapes their identities internally and externally. As a Black woman who went to PWIs for undergrad and grad school, I felt this story in my own bones but enjoyed the new exposure to Indigenous culture as well. Yo, Mr HolyWhiteMountain…not that you’ll read this, but if you ever do…write a novel, sir. We need it. [via The New Yorker]
  • Last link, and with no hyperbole the most thought-provoking thing I’ve read in the past two weeks: Can Black Pain In Books Bring About Black Joy? What a good question. [via Tor]

There we have it, fellow readers–a quick list of diverse book news and info. As always if you like what you see here, like the Facebook, follow the Instagram and check out the Equal Opportunity Bookshop. This blog has affiliate relationships so if you click and purchase anything from a link you find here, a commission may be paid. Now, go read something good. Peace!

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