Paper Trail

New York Public Library’s best books of the year; Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore in conversation with Alexander Chee

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. Photo: Jesse Mann

The New York Times reports on tensions at Facebook over the “nicer news feed” resulting from temporary changes in the company’s algorithm that Mark Zuckerberg agreed to implement in the days before the national election. “There has never been a plan to make these permanent,” said executive Guy Rosen of the changes that led the platform to favor mainstream news sources like CNN, the Times, and NPR over hyperpartisan sites.

At The Guardian, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett wonders why so many books avoid using Donald Trump’s name. As Patricia Lockwood explains: “Refusal to name Trump is seen among my more leftist cohort as a sort of neoliberal indulgence, a useless piece of individualistic coyness. But for a writer, it has a purpose: it is the refusal to reproduce his trademark among the text.”

The Atlantic is teaming up with WNYC to produce a new podcast, The Experiment: Stories from an Unfinished Country.

Melissa Gira Grant discusses Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters and the rhetorical tricks used by the trans rights counter-movement. Shrier’s book has been defended against allegations of its transphobia by Bari Weiss and Glenn Greenwald, “who have positioned their outrage at the alleged censorship as a defense of free speech.” But as Gira Grant notes, trans people’s speech and gender expression is much more commonly censored in the US: “Whose speech is more constrained, a Wall Street Journal contributor or a trans kid whose teachers, if they call on him, won’t even use his name?”

The New York Public Library has announced its Best Books of 2020.

Tonight via Zoom, McNally Jackson bookstore will host Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore and Alexander Chee talking about The Freezer Door, Sycamore’s new novel.