Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
Librarian Erinn Salge responds to Joe Pinsker’s Atlantic essay about diversity in children’s and young adult books thoughtfully and decisively. Pinsker conflates the introduction of missing narratives with political propagandizing; Salge expertly deflates him.
For decades, many of these stories have been relegated to the “special interest” shelf, signaling to children that these narratives only need to be read by certain people — that they are not required reading, not worthy of the canon, too narrow to be universal. But if scholars and booksellers yield to the idea that representing all people makes books more leftist, or inherently political, they close the doors on these narratives and their importance. Proclaiming them to be of little use to “plenty” of families tells the children who see themselves represented that they, too, are of little use to most people.
Annie Lowry with a Thanksgiving story about one town’s very unpleasant holiday tradition. Fair warning: this isn’t a puff piece about small town America; it’s a consideration of how and when humans offer empathy to animals, with direct though not lurid descriptions of animal suffering. Of several kinds.
That George had recovered from the turkey drop but not from the death of his friend. That he had physically recovered, but was emotionally devastated. That was the only thing I encountered while reporting this story that made me cry. I got in the car after meeting him and sobbed while cleaning muck off of my boots. Couldn’t that one bird just feel some peace?
I am all for due process in a legal setting, and I am all for the equivalent of due process in a civil setting. I can’t help but reflect, though, on how many spurious reasons there are for keeping women out of positions of power — too aggressive, too meek, wrong clothes, wrong age, has children, doesn’t have children, too ambitious, not ambitious enough, etc., etc., are you screaming yet? — and yet how very difficult it can be to unseat a man once he’s settled himself onto a professional throne. Carrie Mullins writes here on Junot Díaz’s return to the Pulitzer Board, what it signals for the post-#metoo moment, and what it means for the women whose work he’ll judge.
It comes down to a simple question that’s been hounding me ever since the news was announced: is it so much to ask that a public face and influential member of the Pulitzer Prize Board not be one who is unfriendly to women? American literature is exploding with great work; we’re not suffering from a lack of talent. Why not make the Chairman of the Board of one of our greatest literary honors a writer who hasn’t yelled “rape!” repeatedly in the face of their female dinner companion?