Thanks to all of this heat, I’ve been staying inside, staying still, and trying to stay cool. This has involved a lot of news articles– particularly bookish articles.
- ‘The Free Black Women’s Library amplifies the voices of female African American writers‘ by Eva Recinos via the Los Angeles Times
Little Free Libraries are popping up all over the place these days, and ‘take a book, leave a book’ shelves are common at coffee shops, but The Free Black Women’s Library in Los Angeles seeks to build a larger collection– and a larger audience– than a single Little Free Library can do. The object of this project? To build a library of 500 or more works by Black women.
- ‘Why I Gave Up Being a Literary Snob‘ by Orla Ryan via The Financial Times
Don’t we all have those phases where we read books solely based on the idea that people will see us reading them and think we’re oh, so smart? I know I did. I outgrew it pretty quickly. Orla Ryan spent much of her youth in that phase, stopped reading, and then decided that reading beach books and thrillers was just as valid as dense, Victorian classics.
- ‘Inside the Great Bookstores of Paris‘ by Nichole Robertson via Literary Hub
We’re book nerds. Just say “bookstore” and our ears perk up. Throw Paris into the mix and you have a winning combination. And these photographs? C’est magnifique!
- ‘The Invention of the “Beach Read'” by via The New Yorker
I don’t have much experience with beaches. I live 1600 miles from the nearest ocean. And my last experience with a beach where you could swim or just sit and read? West Palm Beach, Florida. Ten years ago. I ended up with a horrid sunburn. “Beach reads” are not something I give much thought to, but it is interesting to read about their history.
- ‘How Translators are Saving the World‘ by Olga Tokarczuk via Korean Literature Now
There is a small but growing market for translated fiction in the US. Small as it is, it’s an important part of the book world, as it gives us a look into different countries and cultures, providing fresh perspectives that we desperately need.
- ‘On John Wayne, Cancel Culture, and Art of Problematic Artists‘ by Tyler Malone via Literary Hub
Twitter outrage is almost fashionable these days, and while much of it calls attention to current injustices, some call-outs feel more like virtue signaling. Like when someone finds it necessary to point out that some past celebrity like John Wayne was a horrible person. Yes, John Wayne was in a lot of famous films, but he was also a lousy human being. That is a known fact. But calling out dead people for their racist/misogynistic/homophobic/whatever other horrid views doesn’t do much unless you’re willing to grapple with the Art vs Artist conundrum. What, exactly, do we do about quality art made by awful people? It’s a question that takes more thought and space than Twitter allows for.
- ‘Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read‘ by Julie Beck via The Atlantic
I recently read a couple of posts by readers who were worried about the fact that they often forgot character names, plot points, settings, and other aspects of the books they read. They worried that this said something about them or their attention span, but personally, I don’t think they have anything to fear. Human brains– except in very specific circumstances– forget a lot of things. That’s not a bad thing. We forget a lot of things that something in our brains has decided we don’t really need. So unless you’re studying for a test– which you’re generally not doing if you’re reading for pleasure– don’t worry if you forget your favorite character’s brother’s wife’s sister’s second-cousin’s dog’s name.