These are the things I’ve been reading and thinking about this week. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
On Reviews about the Black Experience in America (Book Riot)
I haven’t read the new Ta-Nehisi Coates, but it’s on my shortlist. This excellent piece by Justina Ireland examines how (white) book reviewers think and write about books by black people is so worth your time:
The reviewers’ refusal to see the basis of Coates’ argument, that there are in fact two Americas and one is based entirely upon and sustained by black suffering and that it is possible to love a country and hate how it treats you at the same time, is critical to the tone of their reviews. If they don’t see the problem it doesn’t exist. Their perspective clouds their ability to fully synthesize Coates’ work the same way a black American would, a fact neither reviewer chooses to acknowledge.
I basically want to copy the whole article (seriously, go read it!), but this also stood out:
Both the New York Times review and the review from the Economist bemoan Coates’ bleak outlook and his apparent lack of hope…Hope is hard to come by when nine people are gunned down in the middle of their place of worship, an act of terrorism labeled an unfortunate incident. So Coates doesn’t talk of hope, he instead talks of harsh reality and the historical context that white America chooses to ignore. After all, systemic racism isn’t a black creation, it is a white one.
For All the Girls Who Are Part Monster (Diversity in YA)
Sarah McCarry’s astoundingly brilliant piece over at Diversity in YA is another must-read this week. It’s very short–like three paragraphs–but it’s powerful stuff and it’s absolutely beautiful:
People always accuse women of writing autobiography, as if our imaginations are too tiny to conjure up stories we haven’t lived: I can tell you now that none of what happens to Tally ever happened to me. Like Tally, I’ve longed after the secrets of the universe, though she’d scoff and then some at my sad insistence on tarot decks and astrology charts.
Why the Gilmore Girls Fandom Lives On (NYT)
I’ve rewatched Gilmore Girls countless times (it’s become such a joke in our house that J. shouts NOOOOO every time the show is even mentioned), and I’m currently listening to the delightfully strange Gilmore Girls Podcast in between episodes of the other podcasts I’m current on. So this piece came at the right time (there is no wrong time when it’s one of your favorite shows of all time). The piece focuses on the Gilmore Guys podcast, and has some lovely insight into why the show resonates, still:
Emotional speculative fiction takes place closer to home but is no less fantastical. When done well — as was the case with “Gilmore Girls” — it takes everything recognizable about life but adds the qualities that remain elusively out of reach in reality, like satisfying endings and triumphant character arcs, where loss is ultimately redemptive and learning experiences are peppered with witty repartee.
What got you reading and thinking this week?