Vogue’s Must-Read Books for Spring 2017: Critical Linking, April 6, 2017

Critical Linking is sponsored by The Baker Street Four from Insight Comics.


Vogue chooses the best reads for spring, from groundbreaking novels by literary heavyweights to deeply personal memoirs.

This is interesting to flip through if for no reason other than seeing the UK editions of American covers.


Many libraries, unfortunately, disposed of their catalogues as computers replaced them. Some were creative in their methods: The Card Catalog recounts how one library in Maryland sent its lot off into the sky by attaching it to balloons; another even held a funeral for its cards. Those of the Library of Congress endure largely because many hold information that simply does not exist elsewhere, as not all data was transferred off the original records. You can still visit it today for research and thumb through the paper piles, which live on in those cabinets, still neatly organized by anonymous but dedicated hands.

Library card catalogs are a non-stop source of fascination.


Immigration has been a focus in the news and public mind of late, with worldwide politicization around refugees on the move and thousands of unaccompanied Central American children entering the U.S. in search of safety. Reading stories written from the perspective of immigrant and refugee children can challenge privileged tendencies and attitudes that victimize or vilify the “other.” Simultaneously, such texts may present familiar narratives to immigrant youth, particularly titles that address more than just border crossings.

Thus, several of the recently published books here focus on controversial issues, such as violent historical and modern events that have forced people to leave everything behind, as well as the topics of documentation, deportation, family separation, and discrimination. These titles were primarily written and illustrated by #ownvoices authors, individuals of marginalized groups. Many present autobiographical or fictional stories based on childhood memories or draw upon their work with immigrant children. Countries of origin include: Afghanistan, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Jamaica, Korea, Laos, Mexico, the Philippines, Sudan, Syria, and Vietnam. Most of the titles depict journeys to the U.S., although one book is set in unknown countries reminiscent of Syrian experiences, and another depicts Mennonite migrant workers on a circuit between Mexico and Canada.

And so many of these are going to be great for adult readers, too.

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