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52 Weeks of Historical How-To’s, Week 44: The Art of Horsemanship

For my last post I wanted to recreate something that I had a particularly keen interest in…horse riding. Having ridden since the age of 10 it seemed like a natural […]

Nobel Prize odds speculation

Five weeks and counting, that seems the best bet as to when they'll announce this year's Nobel Prize in Literature; "The date will be set later" is the official stand (and will be until the week of the announcement), but with the rest...Show More Summary

Three Light-Years review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Andrea Canobbio's recent novel, Three Light-Years.

A potential novel: In the Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds

Reading Adam Foulds’s new novel In the Wolf’s Mouth, I was reminded of literary movements like Oulipo, which explored the concept of ‘potential literature’. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that the novel is particularly experimental. It’s the ‘potential’ aspect that stuck in my head. In the world of Oulipo and others, the emphasis was more […]

Ken Kesey in 2014: Furthur Goes To Brooklyn

If you're on the east coast of the USA these days, you might catch a painted bus called Furthur running up and down the seaboard. This colorful vehicle is named after the original Furthur that took novelist Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady, Ken Babbs and the rest of the Merry Pranksters across the country on a famous road trip 50 years ago. Show More Summary

The Strange Library

I don’t really know why, but a new book from Haruki Murakami always seems to have a bit of that wow factor, even though I’ve pretty much had my moment with Murakami’s work. Not that I wouldn’t get to these eventually, just that he’s not really the guy I’m aching to read, and hasn’t been for some time. Show More Summary


Part III of Henry Noltie’s trip through the Western Himalayas: Sent 2nd September 2014 In a very rainy McLeod Ganj (which would better known as McLeod Grunge), named after Donald […]

Translation Lunch Series

The Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University has a great Translation Lunch Series each semester, and the first part of the fall schedule is now up. Beginning with Thomas Hare on "Prolegomena to a Graphic Translation of 'Sinuhe'" (15 September, at noon) -- well, come on, how can you go wrong ?

Palanca Awards

In the Philippines, they've announced the winners of the 64th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. Lots of categories, lots of winners -- and great to see such a variety of literary languages honored. See also, for example, Romsanne Ortiguero's report at InterAksyon -- with lots of photographs.

Publishing in ... Iran

Iran generally doesn't strictly censor books: publishers must submit titles to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (yes, the name should give you a good idea of their sensibilities...) and obtain official permission to publish...Show More Summary

The Wonderful Worlds of Borges

I recently came across an edited set of interviews with one of the true masters, Jorges Luis Borges. The book is Borges at Eighty: Conversations. I first encountered the Argentinian on the built-in bookshelves of one of my English professors.… Continue reading ?

Video Essay: "What Is Composition?"

My latest video essay is now available at Press Play. It's the first in a new series by various hands on cinematic terminology. My term was "composition", and so I made an essay creatively titled, "What Is Composition?"

Two Pans

Another high-profile pan for David Mitchell’s newest. I think Mitchell is pretty seriously overrated, but most people in the media and the industry seem to love him. (I can still recall the enormous lines at BEA to grab a prized galley...) So it’s interesting that a book with this much hype and PR muscle behind it can have such a blemished debut. Show More Summary


There are a lot of really obvious takes on this that you are probably already thinking of. To me, the interesting/scary thing about this is that we have lots and lots of people in this country who seem unable to understand that one might write a work of fiction for any reason other than wish-fulfillment. Show More Summary

The Dutiful Mob, Reconsidered

It’s the day after Labor Day, which means—at many college campuses, including the one where I teach—that fall classes are starting. In constructing the syllabus for my poetry workshop, I’ve leaned, as ever, on Philip Larkin. In his indispensible essay… Continue reading ?

Following Hugh Cleghorn to the Western Himalaya – Part II

A few weeks ago we featured a guest blog from Henry Noltie who is currently retracing the journey of Hugh Cleghorn to the Western Himalaya (Following Hugh Cleghorn to the Western […]

Premio FIL de Literatura en Lenguas Romances

They've announced that this year's FIL Literary Award in Romance Languages will go to Blindly-author Claudio Magris; he will get his US$150,000 and the prize on 29 November, at the opening ceremonies of the Guadalajara InternationalShow More Summary

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