I read a lot every week, and it’s not all in books! Here’s a roundup of some of the best articles I read this week about books, reading, and words.
When Women’s Literary Tastes Are Deemed Less Worthy
If you want to argue that people in and out of publishing are sexist, you won’t get much of an argument from me. (As this recent article in The Guardian points out, only 19% of the readers of the Top 10 bestselling women authors are men.) But I’m not sure this article makes its case effectively. Rather, it does more to confirm the idea that, as the author puts it, “the authors who sell don’t get taken seriously and the authors who get taken seriously don’t sell.” Which is also a sad state of affairs. (via The Atlantic)
What Mystery to Read Based on Your Favorite ‘Clue’ Character
I played countless games of Clue as a kid, and my favorite character was Miss Scarlet. But this article draws on the characters from the 1985 movie adaptation, so there are some names that don’t show up in the board game (like Yvette the maid). I’ve never seen the movie so I don’t know who my favorite character in that context would be, but frankly, my dear, all the books sound like ones I’d like. (via Murder & Mayhem)
A Glowing Shrine to the Printed Word
The main circulating branch of the New York Public Library (meaning the one that actually checks books out to patrons rather than housing books and documents for on-site research) has gotten a facelift and despite what this snooty architecture critic says, I think it looks smashing. “The airy daylight-filled ground floor is appealing but focuses too much on the checkout desk, where those who have chosen their books online “grab and go. Wouldn’t (the architect) want patrons to linger?” is a sentence written by a man who has never had to dash in to grab his reserved books and then run to catch a bus or subway train, if you ask me. (via The New York Times)
How Marginalized Authors Are Transforming Gothic Fiction
This article caught my eye because I read [Mexican Gothic] earlier this year, and I’ve also enjoyed what I’ve read from Octavia Butler. I’ve also enjoyed some of the classics like [Dracula] and [The Picture of Dorian Gray] but I like the idea of the genre being expanded by a range of diverse voices. Of course, I could say that for just about any genre you could name. (via Tor.com)
Why Are There So Many Holocaust Books for Kids?
The headline on this article startled me, because surely we can all agree that it’s important for the most consequential historical events to be passed down to new generations? But reading the article, I can see the author’s point that the near-exclusive focus on the Holocaust denies young readers a richer understanding of all aspects of Jewish religion, and culture. Her caustic comments about [The Boy in the Striped Pajamas], in particular, were eye-opening. I don’t think she’s arguing that no books about the Holocaust should be written for younger audiences, but rather in favor of a balance between what all too often is either completely ahistorical or uncomfortably akin to torture porn and books that celebrate Jewish life in full. (via The New York Times)