“No one converts the uninitiated into devout believers as suddenly and as vertiginously as Clarice Lispector, the Latin American visionary, Ukrainian-Jewish mystic, and middle-class housewife and mother so revered by her Brazilian fans … She writes like a medieval saint who time-traveled to a high-rise apartment building in Rio and took up chain-smoking and visiting fortune-tellers.”
“Unlike Joyce’s innovations, Hemingway’s experimental fusion of fiction and nonfiction [in Green Hills of Africa] remained largely at the level of theory – but it has proven to be even more enduringly influential. Hemingway’s stream has become hard to recognize and to distinguish, because it has become the mainstream.”
A millennium after the Greeks created European civilization’s first written culture, the scholar Alcuin and his monks at Charlemagne’s court fused Roman and Celtic scripts to create the alphabet we use today – and established standards and rules such as leaving a space between words and beginning sentences with a capital letter.
“In some ways, reading all this Arabic literature in English has been like listening in on a foreign-language recording when one understands the words’ meanings, but not the allusions, nor the jokes, nor the underlying rhythms. Some of this woodenness can be blamed on inadequate translations. But some of it falls to our historical blind spots.”
“The government plans to begin offering rent and tax breaks to booksellers in exchange for an ‘opportunity’ to provide a selection of titles chosen by the government. Dmitry Livanov, Russia’s Minister of Science and Education said this this new program [will] ‘help promote sales of those books which have historical value’ and ‘can contribute to patriotic education of local population’.”
“If a writer lists two influences and they both happen to be male – well, fair enough. They never both happen to be female, though, and receiving list after list of five, seven, 10 or more male influences is disturbing. It points again to the larger issue in the industry: our habitual, unchecked dismissal of the experiences, viewpoints and brilliant work of women.”
“The poems were found by archivists last June, in boxes kept at the Pablo Neruda foundation in Santiago, Chile. They were published by Neruda’s Spanish publisher, Seix Barral, but have not yet been released in English. … The collection, titled, Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda, will be translated by the poet and novelist Forrest Gander, and will include full color reproductions of the handwritten poems.”
“When I think of Angela’s Ashes, what I remember most is the way Hong Kong sounded and smelled. The air was muggy, winey, and fishy by late afternoon. Salt blew off the sea. My hostel smelled like cigarette smoke and old newspapers, and the curtains were always closed so that the place sat in a simmering, crowded gloom.”
Through painstaking work and a meticulous, almost forensic reconstruction of Mr. Geisel’s creative process, those abandoned pages have yielded an unexpected new Dr. Seuss book, now called “What Pet Should I Get?” When Random House publishes it on Tuesday, with a first printing of one million copies, it will add a surprising coda to Dr. Seuss’ sizable canon.
Jay Rubin: “You don’t have a grammatical structure that you can use in any way, when translating Japanese to English. You don’t have cognates. You certainly don’t have a sentence structure that’s anything like English.” Not to mention the intangibles in each language that don’t exist in the other. “I very often feel I’m writing original – almost original – fiction.”
“I no longer regret writing, or the life I have made along the way. I’ve learned too much and come too far, and I am in pursuit of an art form. It took a long time, and a lot of work, to get to this point, and I will never find an end to it. I have a problem that can keep me busy for the rest of my life. I have something to look forward to.”
“Since the scandal [over a near-universally-reviled article] broke on Thursday, Gawker has been having what can best be described as a nervous breakdown. What started as internal conflict over a journalism judgment call (or lack of one) has metastasized into an existential crisis about just, what, exactly, is Gawker? “
“Imagine a parallel universe in which Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbø wrote gentle detective stories set in country houses and vicarages. This might well have been the world we’d be living in if, more than half a century ago, an eminent Swedish journalist called Per Wahlöö had not fallen in love with a young publisher named Maj Sjöwall.”
“The going gets tough. Then tougher. Now, with the essays just out, an illustrated children’s book forthcoming with a respected Ontario publisher, and a curriculum vitae a juror once described as being ‘as long as [her] arm,’ I’m facing poverty unlike anything I’ve known since the 1980s, when I lived with my little family in a low-income duplex.”
Azar Nafisi: “More than almost any other fictional character, Alice is in constant conversation with herself and others: probing, asking, reminding me of my infant daughter who would call out for me and, when I entered the room in the dim light of early morning, point to the objects around her and ask, ‘wassdis? wassdis?'”