Lola by Junot Diaz: Reshaping the Children’s Book Industry

Written by Kiran Gokal

Junot Diaz, the Dominican-American author of renowned books This Is How You Lose Her and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, recently released a children’s book called Islandborn which focuses on six-year-old Lola, an Afro-Caribbean girl who came over to the United States so young that she has no memories of the island where she was born. At the Texas Library Association this past Thursday, Diaz spoke about his children’s book and not only his own connection to it, but the importance of it within the children’s book industry. The narrative of the novel follows Lola and her fellow classmates, all children who are from somewhere else, as they’re asked to draw a picture of their “first country.” Lola, not recalling any memories of her own, must reconstruct hers by drawing on those of her relatives to remind herself of and to illustrate her home country.

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African-American-Owned Bookstores on the Rise

Written by Katie Martinez

The number of bookstores owned by African Americans has increased recently from around fifty-four in 2014 to about one hundred and eight today, according to an article in Publishers Weekly.

As many people continue to turn to the internet with sites like Amazon for their literary needs, many of these smaller bookstores are learning how to compete and thrive in the constantly changing market. One bookstore in Washington, D.C., provides tablets to patrons in the store in order to help them find the book they’re looking for. Even the nation’s oldest African-American-owned bookstore is adapting to the increasingly tech-centered industry by emphasizing its online presence. Along with implementing these adaptations, the rise of African American bookstores has also often been associated with the visibility and success of African-American-centered politics.

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Our Bodies, Ourselves—and Our Future, as the Eponymous Publication Announces No New Editions

Written by Abby Adamo

Today we discuss the end of the forty-year run of Our Bodies, Ourselves and what it means for the next generation of women who will grow up without this book updated and in circulation. But first: a story. During my first year of middle school I got a call on my pink razr cell phone from my best friend, asking if I knew what masturbation was because people were starting to talk about it and she was too embarrassed to ask anyone else. I told her, truthfully, that I was at a bakery with my mom and so I couldn’t talk at the moment but would get back to her when I got home. I knew what masturbation was, obviously, it’s just that my mom was around, which would be, you know, awkward. I got home and flipped my parents’ massive, leather-bound dictionary to “ma-” and texted my friend, “um it’s like stimulation of your own genital organs commonly resulting in orgasm and achieved by manual contact, or whatever.” We were both products of the Texas sexual education system and were growing up in a post-internet, pre-smartphone era, when all web history was saved on our family computers. Needless to say, we could have greatly benefited from the guidance of Our Bodies, Ourselves, a book often referred to as the women’s sexual health bible. Fortunately, a search through the health and sexuality section of Barnes and Noble two years later brought us the gospel.

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University of Hawai’i to Digitize 22 Out-of-Print Books

Written by Andi Feddeler

As MobyLives recently reported, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which aims to strengthen and defend humanities and arts through grants and funding to higher institutions, awarded the University of Hawai’i Press a $100,000 grant in order to digitize and distribute twenty-two books that had gone out of print. The Mellon Foundation has partnered with the National Endowment for the Humanities in order to establish the  Humanities Open Book Program, which works to make out-of-print books available to larger audiences.

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Brontë Society to Publish Two Lost Charlotte Brontë Manuscripts

Written by Kendall Talbot

I thought I had experienced everything there was to experience regarding the Brontës: I have read all their published work, studied their lives in a class dedicated solely to them, and even made a literary pilgrimage to their home in Haworth (yes, the moors are as bleak and melancholy as Emily Brontë makes them out to be). So you can imagine my delight upon learning that there would soon be more of the Brontës for me to devour. MobyLives recently reported that two lost Charlotte Brontë manuscripts, a seventy-seven-line poem and a seventy-four-line story, will be published by the Brontë Society later this year.

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Sylvia Plath’s Personal Possessions Auctioned Off

Written by Abby Adamo

Sylvia Plath fans, rejoice! Or, faintly smile while ruminating on the ephemerality of life and the fruitlessness of the longing to become closer to an admired figure by achieving ownership of their material possessions—as I imagine your set is more likely to do. LitHub recently reported that a large selection of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes’ possessions, put together by their daughter, Frieda Hughes, were available at a UK auction held on March 21st. While the auction is now over, we can all hold out hope that these multi-thousand-dollar literary relics will once again enter the marketplace as soon as their owners grow tired of them or pass away themselves.

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Harper Lee Estate Lawsuit Against To Kill a Mockingbird Broadway Adaptation

Written by Sydney Stewart

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird—a required text in schools across America—has been set to become a Broadway play, yet has encountered a number of obstacles in reaching the stage. According to a recent article on MobyLives, the most prominent of these obstacles is a new lawsuit of Harper Lee’s estate against producer Scott Rudin and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for the very adaptation of the book into a script.

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New Shakespeare and Co. Stores Open Later This Year

Written by Morgan Southworth

For those of you who may be unaware, Shakespeare and Co. is a café and bookstore combination that, in addition to the Lexington Avenue, Manhattan location that already exists, will soon open three more locations around the northeastern United States. One store will open around the Rittenhouse Square area in Philadelphia this summer while the two remaining stores will open later this year as additional Manhattan locations. One will be located in Greenwich Village and the other on Upper West Side Broadway, as according to Publishers Weekly.

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Korean Thriller Novels on the Rise: Overturning the Scandinavian Reign

Written by Kiran Gokal

With the phenomenon of Oldboy and the recent popularity of Train to Busan, Korean cinema has established its position high in the crime thriller genre, creating a new generation of widely praised films. When I think of Korean thriller films, I think of action-packed films balanced with drama, comedy, and beautifully crafted, complex characters, in a way that is quite rare in Hollywood films. Simply just acknowledging the popularity of Korean thriller films, it’s no surprise that Korean thriller novels are also on the rise and aiming high. In her article in The Guardian, Alison Flood discusses a particular Korean novelist by the name of Un-Su Kim whose recent novel The Plotters was subject to a grand auction in the US and landed a six-figure sum. Korean thriller novels, it seems, have been caught in a wave of interest in recent years. This fact was strengthened by the praise and popularity following Han Kang’s novel The Vegetarian that sparked a flare of interest into the country’s literature.

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