News & Media

This week, I’ve got a literary recommendation that lines up with our joy and wonder theme, sort of. It’s “Pachinko,” the novel by Min Jin Lee, which chronicles four generations of an ethnic Korean family, first in Japanese-occupied Korea in the early 20th century, then in Japan itself from the runup to World War II and beyond. It doesn’t sound like fun, but our critics selected it as one of best books of 2017 and there’s a humanity and warmth to the story, writing and characters that makes it feel like a cozy warm blanket (as my very smart wife put it). I’m not quite finished yet, but I agree. It’s a family saga more about human connections than history, even as conflict and occupation intervene.

An Interview with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown. Part I.
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“The Frederick Douglass 200 is a project to honor the impact of 200 living individuals who best embody the work and spirit of Douglass across those areas where he had such an impact - abolitionist, politician, writer, feminist, educator, entrepreneur and diplomat.”


Viet Thanh Nguyen:

“Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels (Little, Brown) is a great American novel, if we understand “America” to be all of the Americas, including Mexico. It’s profane, funny and moving. Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman (Portobello, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori) takes a universal space, the convenience store, and turns it into the setting for a darkly comic (and very short) novel about alienation and identity in an urban, capitalist society. Alexander Chee’s How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Mariner) is a collection of essays about race, writing, politics, queerness and sexuality that is urgent and insightful. I’ll be in Paris for much of the summer, and I’ll be takingÉdouard Louis’ The End of Eddy (Vintage, translated by Michael Lucey), Leila Slimani’s Lullaby (Faber), Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (Portobello), Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko (Head of Zeus), Lisa Ko’s The Leavers (Dialogue) and Jenny Zhang’s Sour Heart (Bloomsbury).”

The Guardian