The Thursday Book Beat: Angolan Rapper Arrested for Book Club Pick

Once again, I’ve taken over Angel’s book beat which means I have all of the power where book news is concerned! (cue cackle). Before we begin, I just wanted to say RIP to Ellen Seligman who died this past Friday. She was an editor and publisher of McClelland & Stewart for four decades.

An Angolan rapper and activist, Luaty Beirao, was arrested for planning a coup at a book club. He and sixteen others were sentenced to prison on the charge when they were caught reading From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation by Gene Sharp about nonviolent resistance. He was given five and a half years which is so much for just reading a book whose contents seemingly threaten the ruling government. Books are powerful and also incredibly important. Yes. I’m looking at you, censorship.

Islamophobia is on the rise thanks to terrorist groups like ISIS and bigots like Donald Trump. Kaye M. writes about her experience with islamophobia, the importance of tackling that in YA, and the brown folks who are out there writing themselves into fiction. Art is a reflection as well as an expressed desire of who we want to become. I hope that we’re striving to become better people and to look outside our points of view to do so.

HarperCollins is making its entire digital audiobook backlist titles available to Hoopla’s streaming service in this new deal. Hoopla is a library service provider so if your library is one of the 950 libraries set up with them, you can get free access to HarperCollins’ audiobooks! I’m a huge advocate for libraries – and user of libraries – so this is a pretty great deal for the public. I suggest checking out to see if your library connected with Hoopla and maybe suggest it to them if not.

Now some rapid fire news: NRA adds guns to the Grimm fairytales and lessens the violence its famous for because guns don’t kill people, wolves dressed as grandmothers do. James Patterson has donating 1.5 million dollars for the second year to libraries because like me, he’s a fan. Donate to VIDA – a organization supporting women in the literary world – who are trying to raise $20, 000 for their annual VIDA count. It tracks how many women are represented in “the top-tier literary publications” like The New Yorker. Comedian, Alexei Sayle, gives us his top 10 books about revolutionaries.

Ardo Omer

Ardo Omer

Former WWAC editor. Current curmudgeon and Batman's personal assistant. Icon art by Diana Sim.