We’ve officially entered the stretch of summer where it’s no longer fun to be outside and all you want to do is cuddle up to the nearest air conditioner. To keep you occupied while you escape the heat, here is the best the internet has to offer on books and related topics for the week of July 11, 2016.
- There was a big hue and cry last week after the New York Times called Ben H. Winters “revolutionary” for writing science fiction about slavery and was met with widespread outcry from anyone who has ever heard of Octavia Butler. So Winters, who is white, took the opportunity to celebrate some writers of color on LitHub.
- NPR Books has some movie and music recommendations for you, based on your book preferences.
- Open Culture has some advice from Walt Whitman to young writers:
To young literateurs I want to give three bits of advice: First, don’t write poetry; second ditto; third ditto. You may be surprised to hear me say so, but there is no particular need of poetic expression. We are utilitarian, and the current cannot be stopped.
- Would you like to see a surrealist oil painting by Dr. Seuss? Of course you would.
- Carla Hayden was just confirmed as the Librarian of Congress, and she is the first woman and the first African American to hold the office. The Atlantic has the scoop on her background and what challenges she’ll face going forward.
- Also at the Atlantic is an important discussion of book deserts in low-income neighborhoods.
- The Guardian explores the downside of pushing too many classics on children and not giving them space to pick up newer books.
- Catherine Banner, author of The House at the Edge of the Night, discusses her experience and the aftermath of being published for the first time at 16:
Indirectly, it was writing, too, which gave me the means and the confidence to study literature at university, something I would not have considered before; to train as a teacher; to move from my hometown, which I had never lived away from, to the other end of England. For a long time I didn’t even write; instead, I read hundreds of other people’s books — and writing, too, was what gave me permission to do that. At times, I wondered if I would ever return to writing. Weren’t all these other books in the world enough?
- Emma Cline, the author of Girls, has a short story up at Granta. It is, like all of Cline’s work, written with glass-edged precision:
Every morning since she found out she was pregnant, she’d been drinking hot lemon water. ‘It corrects your pH levels,’ she’d explained to Peter. She used the hot water to wash down all her prenatal vitamins, big dun-colored pills that smelled like fish food, pills that promised to soak the baby in minerals and proteins. It was strange for Peter to imagine their baby’s fingernails hardening inside her, its muscles uncoiling. The unbelievable lozenge of its heart.
- The Wall Street Journal has an excerpt from Elena Ferrante’s latest book.