By Anne Tyler (Hogarth)
You could say that The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s most problematic works, due to the implication that its headstrong main character Kate should submit to her husband (let’s just say gender politics were different in the 1590s). Tyler tries her hand at updating this tale, setting it in her usual North Baltimore and bypassing some of the gender issues. Instead of Kate’s father forcing an arranged marriage, he asks her to wed his lab assistant for immigration purposes. While it doesn’t have the depth of her other works, Tyler’s smooth prose makes Vinegar Girl, one of a series of renowned authors’ Shakespearean updates, a light, summer read.
By Ta-Nehisi Coates (Marvel)
The buzz has built ever since word got out that Coates, the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and National Book Award-winning Baltimore native, was trying his hand at comics. Now his first installment is here, and it’s riveting, demonstrating how Coates’s talent extends beyond books and essays. The comic is set in the fictional African nation Wakanda, where Black Panther, otherwise known as T’Challa, returns to the throne following his sister’s death. Wakanda has faced an invasion, a coup, and a flood, and Coates drops us into the action, with plenty of cliffhangers. We hope the next chapter is as enthralling.