Greetings, fellow readers. I spent President’s Day weekend at Boskone 60, where I spent a significant amount of time cursing both my forgetfulness and my commitment to ebooks. This is because I met both Nalo Hopkinson and Andrea Hairston(if you don’t know who they are–I have a booklist or two for you). I forgot my copy of Brown Girl In The Ring and only have an ebook of Master of Poisons, and so I missed out. I wonder, though, if a signable Kindle cover is a thing? Perhaps I’ll start doing that?
At any rate, it was a great weekend, I learned a lot, and now I’m exhausted, but not so much that I can’t bring you a roundup of diverse bookish news for the week.
- The Scottish Book Trust says pleasure reading can be part of the solution for poverty. I don’t doubt them ,but how isn’t entirely clear to me. I guess it sort of worked for Shuggie Bain. [Scottish Book Trust]
- Moving slightly south, there’s a whole controversy afoot about Roald Dahl’s estate making the decision to go back and edit some of his works to be less offensive and contain more appropriate language. I have a lot of feelings about this, unsurprisingly. While the edits seem like a pandering money grab that potentially destroy the integrity of the works, this is something Dahl did himself to his books over the years. My first copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was my dad’s old copy from the 60s. In it, the Oompa-Loompas are racist caricatures of African pygmy peoples. I didn’t realize Dahl rewrote it so I was confused until I learned that he regularly went back and sanitized his own work in later editions to reflect changing norms. He didn’t necessarily change his beliefs, which have been discussed at length elsewhere, but he had no problem changing his books. Then again, there’s a difference between the writer changing his work himself and others changing it. What do you think? [The Guardian]
- Okay, enough of that. Back to diverse books–this booklist of titles for young readers about the Great Migration is something I really could have used as a kid back in the 80s and 90s, when nobody taught it in schools and I just sort of wondered out loud why all of my grandparents’ generation said they were from the South but had spent most of their lives in New York and Baltimore but never got any answers. Definitely get your kids–or yourself!–into some of these titles. [School Library Journal]
- Raven Leilani is best know for her award-winning novel Luster, but I stumbled across this pre-novel short story of hers randomly and it’s very good. Highly recommended reading if you have a few minutes.[The Cut]
- The Sign In Sidney Brustein’s Window had a chokehold on me in undergrad. Something about it being Lorraine Hansberry’s last and tragically unfinished play appealed to me, although I’ve never been able to decide if I think the play itself, about self-righteous white liberals in New York, is very good. It is, however, timely, even though it was written 40 years ago. It’s running in revival on Broadway now, and I may just get myself into debt to go and see it.[NPR]
- I don’t think enough Western journalists and reviewers realize that Asians who live in ASIA are not minorities to themselves and have no reason to see themselves as marginialized or otherwise demographically unusual by default when they talk about their work. You can almost smell the writer’s bewilderment coming off off this interview with Breasts and Eggs author Mieko Kawakami at times, but it’s a very good interview, nonetheless and I enjoyed her responses and she’s had an interesting life, like many novelists. [New York Times]
- I’m tired of y’all sending me links to this article about Pedro Pascal having good taste in books because no he does not. (W. Somerset Maugham?!?) Okay, it’s not that bad, and there’s no hierarchy of books, but I couldn’t share a bookshelf with this dude. He’d get Salinger all over my comic books.[LitHub]
- Last link, and it’s a serious one; I’ve been waiting for the survivors of Uyghur persecution in China to begin telling their stories in their own words, and it appears the wait is over. Gulchehra Hoja was a Chinese television star, but overnight her friends and family disappeared into reeducation camps and she fled the country. Hoja’s lived in the US and worked as a journalist here since 2001, so it’s perhaps safer for her to speak out than others, but it’s vitally important that she does. Find her book, A Stone Is Most Precious Where It Belongs in my Bookshop. [The Guardian]
That’s it for this week, beautiful people. As always, don’t forget that any links you click that lead to purchasable products are to affiliate shops, which results in a commission being paid to this blog. Obligatory disclaimer over, go read something good. Peace!