Outside Reading — Black Ink edition


Black-Owned Bookstores Safeguard Our History as Racists Try to Ban It by St. Clair Detrick-Jules

As they fully intend, it’s difficult to pin down precisely which of the right wing’s many infractions against political norms and basic decency is most egregious at the moment. My base inclination is it’s all the book banning that takes that particularly ignoble prize. For Jezebel, St. Clair Detrick-Jules writes compelling about the heroic counterbalance provided by bookstores with Black proprietors, maintaining a longstanding tradition of such businesses championing the very voices that the bigots in the power structure are desperate to quash. One such shop is Itty Bitty Bookstore, pictured above, which operates with the explicitly stated mission of being “a place to explore our differences, together.” It’s located in the small Wisconsin town where I attended high school, a community I never would have guessed to be accommodating and supportive of such a business. In this instance, I’m pleased to be mistaken in my assumptions.

Legacy Media’s Useless Mea Culpas by Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel writes with appropriate scalding rage as she considers the little gestures of contrition offered by the gatekeepers of major media outlets who routinely sanitized the underlying motivations of U.S. right-wing movements in recent years, a crime against journalistic integrity that is still ongoing. This insistence to treat this marauding band of wannabe despots who have invaded one of the country’s major political parties as just more run-of-the-mill leaders with reasonable differences of opinion of matters of policy, when they’ve demonstrated over and over again that what they really want to do is tear down the foundations of democracy itself to maintain their high-level grifts, is incredibly damaging. This piece is published by DAME Magazine.

‘We can’t afford to lose them’: the fight to bring missing movies back by Noah Gittell

Writing for The Guardian, Noah Gittell highlights the efforts to preserve movies, an initiative usually associated with the decomposing cellulose nitrate of the silent-film era. Alarmingly, there are numerous works of screen art of a more modern vintage that are almost entirely inaccessible to modern viewers. They’re not all obscurities. The endangered list compiled by the Missing Movies organization includes Héctor Babenco’s Kiss of the Spider Woman, the title etched onto the base of William Hurt’s Oscar.

Beautiful World, Where Are You (2021) by Sally Rooney

The third novel by Irish author Sally Rooney features the familiar crew of young canoodlers navigating the emotional byways of young adulthood with bittersweet snark masking deep-seated damage. As a treat, one of main characters in Beautiful World, Where Are You is also an Irish novelist with a couple bestsellers to her name, a success that begets anxiety as much as financial comfort. The book is as zingy and freshly modern as Rooney’s other works, but it also feels like it’s wandering in search of some purpose. The four primary characters aren’t as distinctly drawn as the lead duo in Normal People, for instance, which unfortunately exposes some of Rooney’s developing tics. Although her prose remains engaging, I craved a little more weight behind the words.

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