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  • “I saw a novel with a mysterious-looking black woman on the cover. That was why I picked it up – because of the African woman on the cover of a book in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section. I read the first page and my eyes nearly popped out.” Book Riot has a killer roundup of posts in honor of Octavia Butler‘s birthday today, including five other sci-fi authors on being inspired by her writing (that’s Nnedi Okorafor above). Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “A quick scan of the literature shows that the writerly gaze has been most often turned on male artists and their creative processes and passions.” Claire V Mullins aims to redirect this gaze with a list for Electric Literature of 11 novels about female artists, including Zadie Smith‘s latest, Swing Time, which we reviewed last year. Related: Elizabeth Silver on the rise of strong female characters and the death of the literary ingénue.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Free e-book bibliophiles rejoice, you now have yet another place to download public domain e-books. The Digital Reader reports on Standard Ebooks, a volunteer-based project to “produce a collection of high quality, carefully formatted, accessible, open source, and free public domain ebooks that meet or exceed the quality of commercially produced ebooks.” Pair with our post from a decade back about Project Gutenberg’s pubbing of “2 B R 0 2 B,” a “lost” story by Kurt Vonnegut.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “I remember LeVar shooting at a zoo and an elephant had a cold and kept blowing snot all over him. He never lost his cool. ‘OK, let’s try it again.’” OMG guys, Mental Floss has an oral history of Reading Rainbow! And let us also never forget the reminiscences of our founder C. Max Magee‘s mom upon learning the show would be cancelled.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • It’s World Refugee Day and Book Riot has 100 (yes, 100!) reading recommendations. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Ted Gioia proposed, Kanye-style, that Vladimir Nabokov‘s Pnin was actually the greatest refugee novel of all time.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “I have a big global voice, but a small local one, because I don’t want to be a target, and resent that in 2017, that’s still the only choice I get to have. I have a rule of leaving the party, or social space as soon as I see five white people drunk, because the only person who will remember that moment when everybody got hella racist will be me. I have a self-imposed curfew of when to ride my bike home, when to leave the park. I would rather risk my life riding late at night on the empty and mostly dark greenway, than riding on the street with Police officers looking for whoever matches a description.” A Brief History of Seven Killings author Marlon James writes on Facebook (?) about being big, close, and black in the U S of A. Pair with Kaulie Lewis on reading James’s The Book of Night Women during her senior year.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “The idea is to bring about a change in lifestyle of the young denizens of the city.” The Times of India reports that the Bhopal Runners Association is converting old parks around the city into green reading spaces with seating, wi-fi, and literary events. Less bookcentric but still a feat of public planning (and gentrification): New York City’s High Line, which our own Michael Borne wrote about when it first opened.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Out this week: Our Little Racket by Anjelica BakerFlesh and Bone and Water by Luiza SaumaNight Thoughts by Wallace ShawnThe Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey Moore; and New Collected Poems by Marianne Moore. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “Maybe I could find some peace there, or a husband. Maybe it would be like going home.” Katherina Grace Thomas writes for Guernica about Nina Simone‘s three beautiful years in Liberia during the 1970s. See also: Bill Morris on the Hollywood biopic.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “That little book had such an impact. It changes the course of history. When you think about how sheer accident can change so much, it’s breathtaking.” A set of Luo-language books written by President Obama’s father are up for auction until today, reports The New York Times. Written for the East African Literature Bureau,“the series uses the character Otieno, the Wise Man to offer advice on farming, healthy eating habits and other topics.” Pair with our own Janet Potter on reading presidential biographies.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Designboom has your library porn for the day. Pair with Daniel Penev‘s appreciation of public libraries the world ’round.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Recommended Reading: The Rumpus interviews John Grisham.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith

Read More The Millions Top 10 May 2017

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