Attention Travelers — Please Remove All Jackets, Shoes, Laptops, Belts…and Books?
Electric Lit relies on contributions from our readers to help make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Please support our work by becoming a member today, or making a one-time donation here.
Plus Oprah has picked a new novel for her book club and a program to combat book deserts will help out Florida kids
The start of the week may be slow, but the literary world is always around to help distract you from those post-weekend blues. In today’s roundup, the TSA may be asking travelers to reveal something sacred and secret…which books they’re reading, Oprah anoints a literary superstar, and vending machines in South Florida will be offering free books to children.
TSA wants to go over your reading habits with a fine-tooth comb
As if TSA procedures weren’t harrowing enough, we might have to start showing agents which books we’re reading. The Wall Street Journal reports that new security measures are being put in place that will ask travelers in the security line to take out their reading materials and paper goods just as they would their laptops. The new practice was reportedly tested in May in Kansas City, MO — apparently, it did not go well, and testing had to be halted after only a few days. But John Kelly, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, told Fox News that the department will “likely” enforce this policy. “What we’re doing now is working out the tactics, techniques, and procedures, if you will, in a few airports, to find out exactly how to do that with the least amount of inconvenience to the traveler,” Kelly said. The ACLU has raised concerns regarding the privacy breaches of this potential new requirement. Looks like the TSA is going to see more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey than it bargained for. Oh, and were you planning on bringing that copy of 1984 on vacation to the shore? Good luck…
[The Hill/Brandon Carter]
Imbolo Mbue’s novel Behold the Dreamer is Oprah’s new Book Club pick
Oprah Winfrey has crowned a new literary superstar. On Monday, the talk show host announced a new pick for her famous book club: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. A powerful tale of immigration and striving, the book tells the story of Jendi and Nene Jonga, a couple from Central Africa who come to America with hope and high spirits. Eventually, they realize the American Dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Winfrey extolled the novel for its relevant themes. “It’s got everything that’s grabbing the headlines in America right now. It’s about race and class, the economy, culture, immigration and the danger of the us-versus-them mentality,” Winfrey said. The story weaves in truths from Mbue’s own immigration to America from Cameroon. Oprah added that the book is ripe with ideals such as the pursuit of happiness, love, and family. She calls it a perfect beach read and because there is no reason not to believe everything Oprah says, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
Vending machines to give 100,000 books to children in South Florida
Many of us can’t imagine a world in which books aren’t readily available at libraries, bookshops, or to borrow from friends and family. Unfortunately, this is the case in many communities considered to be ‘book deserts,’ or areas where printed books and reading materials are difficult to obtain. To combat this, a partnership between Jet Blue and Random House Children’s Books has resulted in a program that offers free books to communities in need. Last year, the reading program helped communities in Detroit and Washington D.C. Today, four vending machines will be installed in Broward County in South Florida to distribute 100,000 children’s books. This year, books will be available in both Spanish and English.