This week on the bookish internet

  • I feel so vindicated after learning that Marcel Proust paid for good reviews about Du côte de chez Swann. I knew there had to be some kind of scam to explain why À la recherche du temps perdu took off. I know people love it, but it sounds dreadfully boring to me. (The Guardian)
    • Pair with Emily Temple’s roundup of eight attempts to game the New York Times‘ bestseller list. (LitHub)
  • I’m not sure how I feel about Tramp Press‘ policy of rejecting submissions with letters addressed to “dear sir(s),” but I totally agree with their rejection of authors who proudly declare that they don’t read women. (The Guardian)
  • The fight for Manhattan’s libraries continues, although the 42nd street library (home of Patience and Fortitude) has been saved. (The Nation)
  • Alison Flood writes one of the more even-handed reports of the Melania Trump book donation debacle. (The Guardian)
    • My take: Only 10 books? Extremely skimpy donation. Every library has Dr. Seuss. Ms. Trump’s donation was a paltry offering and Soeiro is right in telling the first lady to do something more substantial for libraries and communities with greater needs. As for Seuss being racist, well, this is what the media have fixated on unfortunately. I don’t agree with Soeiro on this point.
  • For some reason, many readers conflate writers of color with their characters. Bryan Washington explores problems this creates. (The Awl)
  • Britain’s National Poetry Library is collecting poetry in endangered languages. (The Guardian)
  • I loved following Rowan Hisayo Buchanan down a research rabbit hole after discovering that a London library had once housed a mental asylum. (The Paris Review)

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