I’ve heard folk say work novels won’t sell because no one wants to read about the thing they’re trying to escape. Personally, I love to read about workplaces. The crazier the better. Without working lives depicted in narratives, I assume that the characters are part of society’s 1%, which holds little interest to me as a working stiff since the age of 16. It’s hard for me to get lost in the lives of the rich in an era of such devastating income inequality, which is why I enjoyed the first link this week.
- Amid such “artful idleness” in recent novels, Jason Arthur considers Sweet Bitterness: Why We Need More Novels About Work. He also makes me think that I need to give Peaky Blinders another shot.
- “Honey, I rode every pig track here to yonder.” Carolyn Ogburn shares the history of Bookmobiles in Southern Appalachia.
- Did I write a gay book? An Indian book? A diverse book? Rumaan Alam on figuring out where to sit at the table and the burden of representation when there can be only one.
- Meet Dr. Carla Hayden, Your Awesome New Librarian of Congress. She’s not only the first woman to be elected to the post, she is also the first African-American to head up the post. But wait! There’s more! She’s the first librarian to be elected in over 60 years (what even?). She fought with John Ashcroft over the Patriot Act. She’s also an activist who kept the Baltimore Public Library system open during the Freddie Grey protest, which “became a site for people to actually get food, to get supplies, to open up our meeting room, and so it became that community meeting place.” #americanhero
- A new documentary, Love Between the Covers, explores the billion-dollar romance novel industry, including the derision that romance writers often receive from “serious” writers and readers. As one author mentioned, they’re the ones keeping the lights on in publishing. Check out the trailer below. It’s pretty amazing.