September 27, 2017

James McBride. Photo: Chia Messina

James McBride talks to the Washington Post about humanity, how music affects his writing, and his new book, Five-Carat Soul. “Music . . . gives you the capacity to hear different voices in different keys in different settings,” he said. “Any good writer can do it, but maybe music allows you to hear it and instill it with a little more zing and punch and humor.”

Lauren Williams has been named editor in chief of Vox, replacing Ezra Klein, who will serve as editor at large. The company is also launching a new podcast, and planning an “explanatory journalism” show for television.

At Electric Literature, Tobias Carroll looks at the literary lives of animals. From books like Can Xue’s Vertical Motion to Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne, Carroll curates a list of a dozen works “that memorably explore the lives of animals — some to mysterious effect, some focusing on their interaction with humans, and some using them to counterpoint the foibles or challenges of humanity.”

In the wake of one of Trump’s tweets being taken as a “clear declaration of war” by North Korea, Twitter has decided to update its policies on when a tweet can or cannot be removed by the platform. According to the social media site, Trump’s tweet that North Korea “won’t be around much longer” did not need to be removed because it was “newsworthy.” The Verge’s Jacob Kastrenakes writes that this new policy “basically implies that Trump’s account will never be censored.”

The New York Times Magazines’s Caitlin Dickerson heads to Twin Falls, Idaho, where a conspiracy theory about the town’s refugee residents gained national attention due to coverage by alt-right outlets like Breitbart News and InfoWars. Although the local press tried to refute rumors and stop the spread of false information, local officials were afraid to condemn the story in public for fear of losing their jobs in the right-leaning town. “Behind closed doors, they would all tell you they were pro-refugee, and we wanted them to step forward and make that declaration in a public arena, and it just never really happened,” Times-News editor Matt Christensen said. “That was frustrating to us especially at the beginning because it really felt like the newspaper was out there all alone.” Christensen also said the interest from national news organizations made it harder for the paper to get the real story out. “There were days where we felt like, Godammit, what are we doing here? We write a story and it’s going to reach 50,000 people. Breitbart writes a story and it’s going to reach 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 million people,” he said. “What kind of a voice do we have in this debate?”

Tonight at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, Melissa Febos talks to Sarah Perry about her new memoir, After the Eclipse.

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