Why you should care
Because if you’re a reader, you always need new tomes to tumble into.
If there’s something we love here at OZY, it’s books. And if you’re like us and you’re looking forward to spending some of this holiday season betwixt two covers of glorious fiction (or non), read on. We’ve rounded up some literary tidbits and authors with curious — and perhaps previously unheard of — stories to tell.
Foreigners have published English-language literature about Haiti for decades. And the immigrant experience has long been fertile ground for American stories. Haiti itself is home to a vibrant storytelling culture and standout fiction writers, too. And for such a tiny country, its diaspora is huge. Despite all that, most Haitian-American novelists haven’t had much luck getting published — until now. Though these debut novels deal with Haiti, they vary widely in tone, theme and concern. Read the story here.
Over the last 21 years, 43-year-old Seth Ferranti earned a master’s degree, got married and launched a writing career — all from behind bars. He also started his own imprint, Gorilla Publishing, when the independent publishers who showed interest in his Prison Stories wanted him to tone down his “too raw and too real” work. Certainly, his writing isn’t for everyone. It’s not always polished, and can be more than tough to swallow. But if you want to read work about prison life and the streets, Ferranti’s your guy. Read the story here.
So how much do we really know about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea? The longevity of the Kim family regime has frequently been tied to a near-absolute information blackout. Not only do North Koreans know nothing of the world outside, but most Westerners know nothing of life inside the prisonlike nation. While political change is not likely anytime soon, literature can cast light into even the darkest of places. These books offer a glimpse into everyday life in the world’s most repressive state. Read the story here.
Harper Lee received one unforgettable gift that changed her life, and all of ours, forever. More than half a century after its publication, To Kill a Mockingbird still sells more than 750,000 copies per year, yet it might never have happened. In 1956 Lee, like many aspiring writers, had come to New York City to pursue her dream. But after seven years of struggle, it seemed beyond her grasp. Luckily, Lee had made two very good friends in New York: a generous couple who provided her with a gift that made all the difference. Read the story here.
Programmers and literature writers: not an area where you’d expect to find common ground. But Vikram Chandra would argue otherwise. The 53-year-old author has a background that brings together a copious knowledge of literature and history with time spent working with code. And in his new book, his first in nonfiction, Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty, Chandra finds the places where literature and technology converge. Read the story here.