Toni Morrison, celebrated author of at least 30 books, has passed away, the BBC reports today.
Image via People
Morrison’s most famous novels include The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon, and Beloved won both the Pulitzer Prize and The American Book Award in 1988. Morrison won more than 30 across her 40 year writing career, including the Nobel Prize for Literature, Commander of the Arts and Letters, Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, and honors from several prominent universities. Morrison is quoted, as well, on The National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Toni receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, April of 2012 | Image via BBC News
Toni Morrison was a senior editor at Random House for 20 years before becoming a professor at Princeton, and held teaching positions at many prestigious universities, including Yale, Bard, and Rutgers.
Morrison’s death was confirmed by her family this morning, after a brief illness. She leaves behind a sorrowful family and a monumental legacy of massive contribution to the literary cannon. Toni’s words were an inspiration for women and people of color across the world.
Morrison was 88, and passed away peacefully in her sleep. She will be missed dearly.
If you haven’t heard yet, WebToon is a platform for serialized graphic novels. Yeah, these are comics, and some are gorgeously drawn and deeply potted narratives that you don’t want to miss. Here’s our guide on how to get on board, starting by genre.
Webtoon has a website, if you want to see the art blown up, but it’s most alive on the app.
This comic tops the overall WebToon list with extreme regularity, and for good reason. The art is outrageously beautiful, the characters are complex and compulsively likable (or outrageously easy to hate), and the plotting is gorgeous. Persephone has left the mortal world to go to university on Olympus, but things get complicated almost immediately. This is a must read if you have any interest in myth, fantasy, or just really like fantastic graphic novels.
Alice Kruger has been through a lot. No spoilers, but she’s had a bit of a bad year, and now, her cat knocks a pot off a windowsill and hits her on the head. This gives her the power to see supernatural beings, including the monster in her closet? Most people would be understandably put off, but Faust’s alright, and he certainly has problems of his own. Read this if you like a quality combination of paranormal silliness and dire peril.
This comic has everything – an optimistic rookie paired with a cantankerous vet, a supernatural plague that erases your memories and makes you hard to kill, vaguely sketchy military organizations. The magic is seamlessly embedded in the world, the characters are compelling, and there’s plenty of running around stabbing and shooting people. It’s a classic model done in a very new and interesting way. And it has journalistic integrity.
Mei is pretty normal. She’s been selling her family’s apples since her brother died in the Blood King’s army. Then she accidentally saves the life of the new Blood King’s young brother, and gets taken to the capital. It turns out her family is more connected to the capital than she thinks, and she’s suddenly on the radar of the Blood King, his chief generals, foreign royalty, and the most fearsome criminal in the empire. Mei is smart and tough and way out of her depth (or anyone’s).
After being bullied in middle school, Jugyeong decides she’ll learn how to do ‘beauty’ and become popular at her new school, which kind of works. It’s an interesting examination of the weird contradictions of beauty standards, without getting too philosophical or stepping on the story. This comic is funny, heartfelt, and relatable, but watch out for the cliffhangers! This also regularly tops WebToon lists, which it deserves.
Camille’s whole family died in a fire when she was young, and she had to live with her very severe aunt, now head of the Severin witch family. Everything goes (more) wrong when she tries to summon a demon for a rite of passage, and can’t summon a bird like she should. The art is beautiful, and the setting, a manor house in Louisiana, is elegant and immersive. Alligators, gal pals, and family secrets make this a must read.
This is not your standard romance. Cati Abbott is the orphaned daughter of idealists who died in ‘Amazonia’. Taken home to some more industrialized country by her anthropologist mentor, she’s considered charmingly eccentric, at best. Enter the town’s tight laced doctor. Chaos ensues, and they realize all this petty conflict might be something else.
Lauren has always been able to tell when people are lying to her. After losing someone close to her, she becomes a police officer, but never stops trying to find out what happened. Her power makes her an effective officer, but when an assassin offers her information and help in stopping his boss, and maybe even with her mystery, it’s hard to turn down the opportunity to save lives and find answers.
Gwendolyn is a bit of an ugly duckling compared to her anime eyed sisters, but this doesn’t bother her or her family. Her very caring father decides that his three daughters will marry his BFF’s three sons, easy as it gets. The only problem is that Gwendolyn’s suitor is terrified of her. Running into the forest so her sisters don’t see her crying and boycott the whole thing, Gwendolyn meets a bunch of other princesses under strange curses.
WebToon also publishes foreign language stories translated by fans. Flawless is a strange, philosophical examination of relationships, blindness, and how we treat others. Mostly it’s just fun though. Elios grows up in an orphanage, and when his foster sister gets in trouble, he ropes in Sarah, a local girl who gets into a ton of fights, in order to retrieve his sister. They somehow become friends, and end up going to the same high school. A fun read. (originally published in Indonesian)
If you’re wondering what poetry to read, look no further. Here’s a shortlist of five niche offerings for this year, released and forthcoming. Light enough to throw in your bag and rich enough to spend hours on, this is the best of small and breakout poets.
Alyan’s book explores her life as it is now, while also wandering through the earlier years of her life with a tone of distant, soft-focus nostalgia. Spanning nations and years, this spare, lyrical, and highly personal, Twenty-Ninth Year uses highly individual stories to capture some element of the human experience and growing older.
“It takes a romantic to leave a city; I understand this now.” Hala Alyan, The Twenty-Ninth Year
Baird’s poetry is characterized by sparsity and organization, and covers girlhood, culture, and identity. It’s an exploration of the things we overlook, the things we make of ourselves, compassion, and how we forgive others and ourselves. It’s a record of healing, from the one side of suffering to the end of the tunnel.
“You do not owe your progress to anyone.” Blythe Baird, If My Body Could Speak
Von Radics writes with patience and with astounding feeling. Compassion, heartbreak, and survival are measured out and deployed with the most precise diction. This is the hard work after you’ve gotten through the heart of something unbearable, but triumphant. It’s not about the moment, but about all the moments after, when you’re stronger but still reaching for the light.
“No one else can decide what your tough looks like.” Clementine von Radics, In a Dream You Saw a Way to Survive
This book is forthcoming August 20th, but you can expect Gatwood’s passion and her reverence for the mundane. She writes about youth and about looking back, about the things we overlook, about the ugly things we do that aren’t really so bad. This is a book about fear, but Gatwood never lets fear get of the best of her.
“I want to know what it means to survive something.” Olivia Gatwood, Life of the Party
This book is forthcoming October 1st, and you definitely have to pick it up. Twohy’s poetry is modern and funny and tragic and electric. It dissects the strangeness of life, of loss, of becoming someone else. It takes not just the ordinary but the boring and makes it into something worth thinking about, something that tells you more about yourself. Her topics may not initially seem like the basis for poems, but she always finds the through line of universal feeling.
“You’ve just never seen the close-up of a haunting.” Brenna Twohy, Swallowtail