Welcome to Vox’s weekly book link roundup, a curated selection of the internet’s best writing on books and related subjects.
I hope you have been able to go for plenty of walks this week. I was doing full self-isolation for a while, and even with living room yoga, I started to ache all over from not moving: Being able to go outside is so important.
And so are books! No matter what else is happening, we still have books, and an opportunity to talk about books. Here is the week’s best writing on books and related subjects for the week of April 12, 2020.
- Publishers Weekly reports that the majority of authors are losing income during the pandemic. In large part, that’s because of the loss of income from speaking engagements.
- In response, We Need Diverse Books, a nonprofit group that advocates for better representation in publishing, has started an emergency fund for children’s book authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds.
- The blog for Books Are Magic has a list of great new books by Asian and Asian American authors:
We’ve been thinking about the rise of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia in America, especially since the introduction of Covid-19, and what our role is in combating it. We believe it is everyone’s responsibility to resist anti-Asian racism whenever it arises, but beyond that, we must leave no doubt in the minds of Asian friends and family and neighbors and colleagues that we love and value them. So friends, let us address you directly, please hear us when we say: we love you, we value you, we appreciate and respect you. We are here to support you in whatever ways we can.
Part of showing our love and support means acknowledging that you are more than the work you’ve produced, but another part, which we’d like to do here, involves helping to celebrate your artistic achievements! We’re so grateful that you have shared your stories with us, and we’re excited to share this list of Own Voices fiction and poetry books by Asian writers, which are all new or forthcoming.
- At Publishers Weekly, Gene Luen Yang looks back at the time Superman saved a Chinese American family from the Klan.
- The New York Daily News reports that one of Amazon’s warehouse workers has died from Covid-19, and that Amazon has fired three employees who campaigned for more protections for warehouse workers.
- Meanwhile, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made $24 billion since the pandemic began, the BBC reports, because of the increased demand for delivery services.
- At Slate, Maira Kalman discusses her perfect day with Rumaan Alam:
Rumaan Alam: What would your perfect day look like?
Maira Kalman: The perfect day of work is not working! The perfect day of work is waking up and not feeling exhausted from terrible dreams, having a cup of coffee, reading the obits, going for a walk, looking at trees …
Reading the obits?
Of course, everybody must read the obits. It sets you into a mode of, what am I really going to be doing with my life today? The stories in obits are very much about lives, not about death. So you’re looking at these heroic or interesting or absurd lives and saying, “Well, how would they write about my life if it was condensed into 10 paragraphs?”
- Shel Silverstein’s houseboat is for sale for $783,000, and y’all, it looks cozy af. Apartment Therapy has the photos.
- Wine Enthusiast asked a bunch of authors to recommend wine and book pairings. I’d pay special attention to Stephanie Danler’s rec: She wrote the excellent 2016 novel Sweetbitter, loosely drawn from her time in the New York food industry, and she also runs a wine shop. She knows both her wine and her books!
- Lapham’s Quarterly has reproduced one of Keats’s letters from quarantine:
O what an account I could give you of the Bay of Naples if I could once more feel myself a citizen of this world—I feel a spirit in my brain would lay it forth pleasantly—O what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints! My love again to Fanny—tell Tootts I wish I could pitch her a basket of grapes—and tell Sam the fellows catch here with a line a little fish much like an anchovy, pull them up fast.
- Library Journal has a few library photos you can use as backgrounds for your next Zoom meeting.
- At the New York Times, Colin Moynihan talks to the library employees who still have to go in to work:
The Houston Public Library told its staff that, though its branches were closed, the city remained “open for business” and they must report to work.
And so they have for several weeks, filing into the largely empty branches, where city officials say social distancing is maintained, and gloves, wipes and hand sanitizer have been made available.
- At LitHub, Emily Temple has rounded up some of the best descriptions of rain in literature. My favorite is this little passage from Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond:
Incredible, really. Or so it seemed to me as I went by and heard the thing play out. Further along there were those very small raindrops, droplets I suppose, which attach themselves with resolute but nonetheless ebullient regularity among the fronds of a beautiful type of delicate crass, appearing, for all the world, like a squandered chandelier dashing headlong down the hillside.
- At the New Yorker, Evan Kindley explains why we are all Mrs. Dalloway now:
It’s oddly fitting that so many people are reaching for Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” in the midst of this particular crisis, not least because the novel’s opening pages are probably the most ecstatic representation of running errands in the Western canon. “What a lark! What a plunge!” Clarissa Dalloway thinks, as she embarks on her morning expedition in quest of decorations for the society party she will throw that evening. At a time when our most ordinary acts—shopping, taking a walk—have come to seem momentous, a matter of life or death, Clarissa’s vision of everyday shopping as a high-stakes adventure resonates in a peculiar way.
And here’s the week in books at Vox:
- Vox Book Club, The City We Became, Week 2: Fighting monsters with math and hip-hop
- Ask a Book Critic: What to read when your attention span is shattered
- No one can opt out of this pandemic. And that will change us forever.
- Where does Weight Watchers fit into a “wellness” world?
- Why Buddhism is true
As always, you can keep up with all our books coverage by visiting vox.com/books. Happy reading!