So much out there to discover

Ah, the clueless privilege of white men. James Patterson demonstrated that once again when, as one of the richest authors in the world, he complained that white men were having trouble getting writing gigs. Hesitate.

Seventy-six percent of books that were published in the United States in 2019-2021 were written by white people. Since white people make up 60% of the nation’s population, this is hardly a hardship. The male-female split is about 50-50 overall. So, again, white men are not hurting unless the problem is that they are not yet crowded out anyone else’s voice being heard.

Patterson soon walked back his comment. Putting in a plug for Woody Allen was another tone-deaf statement. Again. Hesitate.

Instead of worrying about Patterson’s concerns about making another million or two this month, let us instead celebrate novels by people of color. Some of my recent favorites follow. These are only among the books I’ve read; there are many, many others that should be added to the list but I haven’t gotten to them yet.

Please add any not included that you know about.

And, yes, things out there continue to be perilous and traumatic and daunting. That’s why, to me, more than ever, any time I spent with books is time well spent. Even if it takes ages to finish one. Reading gives us a way to wonder, a way out, a way to discover, a way to recognize.

Also, two apologies. Last week, I didn’t post a diary because the end of the school year/beginning post-teaching chores and being absorbed in the Jan. 6 hearings committees got the better of me. Tonight, I’m not sure I’ll be able to get online to reply to any posts. Next week, things should be back to normal. Thank you for your patience.

The Night Watchman and The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyaasi

Inner Chinatown by Charles Yu

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

The Glass Hotel and Sea of ​​Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millett

Pew by Catherine Lacey

I Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Laura van den Berg

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears by SA Cowby

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen (which can be read on its own but is even better after reading The Sympathizer)

whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Delilah Harris

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

harlem shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Matrix by Lauren Groff


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