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  • “My ear for the diction and rhythms of poetry was trained by — in chronological order — Dr. Seuss, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, the guitar solos of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, and T.S. Eliot.” Author Denis Johnson has died at age 67, reports The Washington Post. Our own Sonya Chung recommended Johnson’s celebrated short story collection Jesus’ Son to a friend some years back, saying “I know it will knock him out. It does (of course).”


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “How can we represent four hundred years of American literary history in a way that doesn’t reinforce the unfortunate hierarchies of those four hundred years?” Year in Reading alum Rebecca Makkai writes for Electric Literature about the opening of the new American Writers Museum in Chicago and what it means to curate an historical canon of letters. See also: our interview with Makkai from a couple of years back.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • We’re super jazzed about a new (and free!) app called ToposText that pairs the entirety of ancient Greek and Roman texts with GIS mapping data, allowing travelers to pull up history’s classics in the places in which they were written. Developed by a relative of our own Lydia Kiesling, ToposText correlates to a map of nearly 6,000 ancient places and includes 570 ancient texts in English translation, with hyperlinks to the Greek or Latin original. And for a more modern context to the Homeric epic The Odyssey, consider our piece comparing its journey to that of Toni Morrison‘s own classic Beloved.

     


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Out this week: Isadora by Amelia GrayChemistry by Weike WangA Good Country by Laleh KhadiviSeason of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim; and The Heirs by Susan Rieger. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • “I saw it as a breath of fresh dark honest night air. I could live in my grief and be weird in my grief.” A.N. Devers writes about her love of Twin Peaks for Longreads, situating the show within her contemporary experiences of losing her grandparents and her girlhood.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “We’ve often thought First Nations and indigenous students — if they don’t see themselves reflected.. how engaged they can be with the educational system?” The Huffington Post reports that a school board in southern Ontario is making a native-focused literature course mandatory after learning that those books “were more interesting and engaging to students than the classics.” The class curriculum includes As Long as the River Flows by James Bartleman, Green Grass, Running Water and Medicine River by Thomas King, the 7 Generations graphic novel series by David Alexander Robertson, and Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. (Story via Book Riot.)


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Marta Reale, 10, her smile broad, her bangs blanched, made her way to a recreation center’s doorway through the dense crowd of other children, sunlit cigarette smoke and mothers fanning themselves on the seats of scooters. Above her, more children were hanging out the window, and above them, more were crammed onto a balcony.” Jason Horowitz files from Naples, Italy for The New York Times about a casting call for HBO’s upcoming adaptation of Elena Ferrante‘s My Brilliant Friend, noting that it “has already drawn 5,000 children, the vast majority of whom have never heard of Elena Ferrante, and injected a mix of hysteria and hope into parts of Naples that are poor in resources but rich in real characters.” Pair with this piece about The Neapolitan Quartet‘s scope and impact.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Mom would meet up with us in the museum, take us to study Impressionist or Modern art. It always made me want to puke, but we did it every weekend for over a year.” Smithsonian Magazine has a lovely piece about the story behind the children’s classic From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, including lots of anecdotes from author E.L. Konigsburg‘s kids.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Hey book podcast lovers, Between the Covers has a new episode out featuring author Thalia Field on her fascinating-sounding novel Experimental Animals. For more literary listens, see our round-up of 10 more shows to check out.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “It would be hard for anybody who has dealt with suicide to not have a heightened awareness of things, to perhaps be a little more cautious about things.” A Colorado school district has officially pulled the book 13 Reasons Why out of circulation, reports The New York Post; not surprisingly, some librarians are rankled. Pair with this case against book banning, which focuses on number 15 on the list of 100 most challenged books released by the ALA, Toni Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • We are longtime fans (and participants) of The Morning News‘s Tournament of Books, and so were thrilled to learn they’re starting up a summer book club with a ToB twist. Join them in reading Katie Kitamura‘s A Separation and The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge, starting in just a week and a half.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • On the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, The Literary Hub has a list of eight books by LGBTQ authors from places where it’s illegal to be gay, including Here Comes the Sun by Year in Reading alum Nicole Dennis-Benn.


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    ~Kirstin Butler

Read More The Millions Top 10 April 2017

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