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After a few weeks off, this “week in the books” actually includes some bookish news from the past several weeks, including a couple different types of controversies in the literary world. I’m interested in your thoughts on them.
In case you missed my latest:
- Mini-Reviews of Recent Reads – June
- The Books on My July 2018 Reading List
- The Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far)
Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder review – gritty memoir dispels Little House myths – The Guardian
I’m on a Little House kick right now. I read (and loved) Caroline: Little House Revisited last year, my daughter and I are reading the Little House series now, and I have Prairie Fires in the queue for July. I hadn’t heard of this gritty, scattered memoir by Wilder before, but I’d like to pick it up. Little House was a huge part of my childhood, and I’m enjoying the deep-dive back into a world that wasn’t as pure and wholesome as my memories might have suggested.
Even reading the original series again is making me shudder at times and forcing me to consider when further conversations with my daughter are necessary.
This is all especially interesting in light of the recent news that the ALA is renaming the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literacy Legacy Award because of how the books depict Native Americans and blacks. I’m thinking this extended Little House revisit may prompt at least a few blog posts!
Something a little different, but relevant for lovers of books and stories: this study examined the biological, evolutionary, and functional benefits of storytelling in hunter-gatherer societies. Good storytelling is associated with increased cooperation and social and reproductive success.
So take heart, readers and writers! All that time spent with your books is actually pro-social!
Separating the Art from the Abuser
I was intrigued by these two pieces on separating the art from the abuser, and whether it can (or should) be done at all. I Was Wrong about Junot Diaz but that Doesn’t Change How He Inspired Me (Electric Literature) explores one reader’s complicated feelings about how the writings of Junot Diaz changed her life and the knowledge of the alleged abuses he committed.
Meanwhile, on BookRiot, another reader gives no pass for talent, in I Can’t (Won’t) Separate the Art from the Abuser. I’m interested in your thoughts on this, as I’ve been struggling with it as well because I have recently loved the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why (and remember liking the book).
The author of the book, Jay Asher, has also been accused of abuses. Does it make a difference that I enjoyed both before the allegations came to light? Does it matter that I found the second season even better than Asher’s original material? Add to it the delicate-and-related subject matter of sexual assault and suicide, and the reading of Asher’s work changes a bit. What is he really telling us here?
There’s a lot to mine here, and many different artists with allegations against them right now. I’m interested in your thoughts.
And, on that happy note…I hope everyone in the U.S. had a fantastic 4th of July and an even better weekend ahead of you!