Robert L. Bernstein Has Died, Diversity Gap in Children’s Nature Books, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Robert L. Bernstein, the longtime chairman of Random House and founder of Human Rights Watch, died on Monday aged ninety-six. As the head of Random House from 1966 to 1990, Bernstein grew the house into the world’s largest trade publisher and published authors such as Norman Mailer and Toni Morrison. (New York Times)

The Washington Post recommends twenty upcoming and recent releases to read this summer, including Karen Russell’s story collection Orange World, Colson Whitehead’s novel The Nickel Boys, and Angie Kim’s debut novel, Miracle Creek.

Of the many picture books about children exploring the outdoors, only a few feature African American protagonists. The Atlantic explores why the lack of representation persists and why it needs to be rectified.

Last week on BBC radio, author Naomi Wolf found out on-air that the premise of her forthcoming book, Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love, hinges on a misunderstanding of a nineteenth-century legal term. (New York)

Book-sharing nonprofit Little Free Library is celebrating its tenth anniversary this month as well as remembering the organization’s founder and executive director, Todd Bol, who died last year. Today, there are more than eighty thousand registered Little Free Libraries in ninety-one countries, which have shared a total of at least 120 million books. (Publishers Weekly)

“The refiguring, disfiguring or disordering of a dictionary’s format has a particular anarchic and ludic appeal.” On the joys of coinage. (Guardian)

Universities around the world are seeing steady declines in the use of the books on their shelves. Dan Cohen, Northeastern University’s Vice Provost for Information Collaboration, considers the unsettling statistics. (Atlantic)

“What do you do if you’re working for a country, upholding the laws of a country that aren’t designed to necessarily keep you safe—how do you reconcile yourself with that?” Lauren Wilkinson shares the questions of loyalty and love at the heart of her debut novel, American Spy. (Los Angeles Review of Books)