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Worst book lists

What with all the best-of-the-year book lists coming out I'm kind of disappointed that there aren't more worst-of lists to be found, a reminder of the year's over-hyped crap and flops and disappointments. Admittedly, they can be hard...Show More Summary

Turning to Finnish translation

At Books from Finland they wondered how people whose mother tongue isn't Finnish became interested enough in the (difficult and not exactly widely-spoken) language to become translators of Finnish literature, and in Encounters with a language they get answers from: "Three translators into English, one into French, German and Latvian"

Naudé-Vladislavi? exchange

At Granta they print an interesting exchange, In Conversation: S.J. Naudé and Ivan Vladislavi?, the two writers discussing 'translation, divided cityscapes and the electric current in writing'. Lots of interesting observations, especially...Show More Summary

Books review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Charlie Hill's entertaining killer-novel novel, Books.

Jane Mayer’s Reporting on Torture

In 2005, The New Yorker published “Outsourcing Torture,” Jane Mayer’s account of the C.I.A.’s “extraordinary rendition” program. “Rendition was originally carried out on a limited basis,” Mayer wrote, “but after September 11th, whenShow More Summary

Weekend Reading: The Psychology of Neonaticide, Failed Adoptions, and More

In Pacific Standard, Nabeelah Jaffer looks at mental illness in mothers who commit neonaticide. Every so often, a grisly story pops up in the news about a woman killing her own child just after giving birth. More often than not, these...Show More Summary

Torture and the Herd Mind

The horrifying report of the US Senate investigation into CIA torture during the Iraq War was released to the public this week, revealing depths of sadism and cruelty that nearly everybody but Dick Cheney considers un-American. WhenShow More Summary

The nefarious 'international literature lobby'

In The Guardian Alison Flood reports that Turkish novelists Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak accused of being Western stooges by pro-government press, as: Major Turkish authors Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak have been accused by the pro-government...Show More Summary

Early Chekhov

At Russia Beyond the Headlines George Butchard reports on efforts at Bringing early Chekhov to an English-speaking readership as apparently -- and somewhat surprisingly -- a great deal of early Chekhov has: "never been systematically translated into English". It'll be interesting to see how this project develops.

James Patterson profile

He's incredibly -- and somewhat bafflingly -- popular, and in Vanity Fair Todd S. Purdum profiles The Henry Ford of Books. An interesting background and path -- and apparently: "success may have mellowed Patterson somewhat": "I always thought he was a total dick," one non-Little, Brown executive told me. "I think that's not fair now."

London Fiction: a Reading List

A couple of years ago I was involved in a panel event on London fiction. As part of my preparation I decided to put together a list of novels that are set in London and shed some interesting light on the city. Here’s what I came up with: Londonstani by Gautam Malkani The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon Brick […]

On Kafka

Rivka Galchen on the new Kafka bio by Reiner Stach. I have come to the conclusion that anyone who thinks about Kafka for long enough inevitably develops a few singular, unassimilable and slightly silly convictions. (The graph may beShow More Summary

Me on Modiano

My review of Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano. The most focused of the book’s three diffuse novellas is “Afterimage.” Here, the narrator merely wants to “relate the little I know” about the photographer Francis Jansen, whom he befriended 30 years ago in the 1960s. Show More Summary

Lighting the Past: The Reserve Collection, Part 1.

After beginning on the 7th November 2013, the Lighting the Past Team has finally finished the general Reserve Collection, 54 weeks later, on the 21st November 2014. The fifth and […]

Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

They've announced that Sudanese author Hammour Ziada awarded the 2014 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature -- though, of course, since this is (supposed to be...) a book prize, it is, in fact, his novel, ??? ??????? ('The Longing of the Dervish'), that was awarded the prestigious prize. See also M. Show More Summary

Translation recommendations

Among the endless best of year and the like lists, the more specialized ones tend to be both more interesting and useful -- and at PEN Atlas they get translation recommendations from a variety of authors and others, a decent selection, despite the unforgiveable head/tagline, Yule love these books in translation 2014.

Man Booker Prize judges

Yes, 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction: Judges announced, and they are: Ellah Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith, and Frances Osborne, with Michael Wood as chair. Interesting (?) side note: in 2011 the judges got Kindles, to read submissions...Show More Summary

Self-Portrait in Green review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Marie NDiaye's Self-Portrait in Green, recently published by Two Lines Press.

Vikinges Go Berserk

Whyle goinge through my copye of the Elder Edda, Ich dyd fynde a seccioun yclept 'The Younge Persones Edda,' the which hath verye gentil and mirthful poemes for children concerninge the deedes of valiant warriors, and eek of the Tree of Givinge that Ys Callid Yggdrasill, and eek of the Aesir and the Vanir and the Beares of Caring. Show More Summary

Martyr Stories, Past and Present

Some of the most popular stories in medieval Europe were tales of saints and martyrs. Many of the hagiographies were essentially martyr stories as well, seeing as most early Christians were sainted for dying at the hands of pagans, like St.… Continue reading ?

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