“The sound of the language is where it all begins. The test of a sentence is, Does it sound right? The basic elements of language are physical: the noise words make, the sounds and silences that make the rhythms marking their relationships. … This is just as true of prose as it is of poetry, though the sound effects of prose are usually subtle and always irregular.”
“Translated books, Goldstein says, ‘hardly ever get this much attention.’ And when they do, it’s unusual for much of that attention to be directed at the translator. But Ferrante, by insisting on preserving her own anonymity despite her international audience’s growing curiosity, has (perhaps unintentionally) managed to create an unlikely spotlight for her American translator.”
At least it was long and meaty enough to be made into a two-part Q&A.
“Self-publishing, print-on-demand and the fan-fiction phenomenon have eroded the distinction between amateurs and professionals in the literary industries, but every so often you get a small reminder that sometimes you need to send in a pro.”
“That’s the finding of James S. Jaffe, a rare-books expert brought in to review the contents of the safe-deposit box at a bank in Ms. Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Ala.”
“Over the past few years, as publishing conglomerates merged, restructured, and grappled with Amazon, a midwestern press snuck in and found a genuinely new way forward for nonfiction.”
“Thicker ink, fewer smudges, and more strained hands: an Object Lesson.”
“Sometimes it seems that what publishing is looking for, when they look to the Market to sell books by marginalized writers, is a single story. It is: this writer is *the* Dominican writer, or *the* Japanese writer, or *the* Sudanese writer that you should read right now. After all, we live in a culture that sells books with the tagline, if you read only one book this year.”
“A middlebrow cult of the popular is holding literature to ransom. Thus, if you judge by the emotional outpourings over their deaths, the greatest writers of recent times were Pratchett and Ray Bradbury. There was far less of an internet splurge when Gabriel García Márquez died in 2014 and Günter Grass this spring. Yet they were true titans of the novel.”
“The reader who assumes that abstruse prose is clever prose, or that there is a reliable correlation between opacity and depth, is bound to waste a lot of time on writing that doesn’t deserve it. She is also liable to end up praising works that confound her, for fear of being revealed as a dimwit if she confesses her perplexity.”
Editor Kate Gale took aim at the charges in a blog post at Huffington Post in a plea for members to stop questioning (attacking) the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).
The language in Kate Gale’s piece has set off a firestorm. Discussing a complaint that AWP is not inclusive of various ethnic groups–and responding directly to a charge that the organization has been dismissive of Native Americans–Gale writes of trying to find the potential “Indian hater” in the organization. Then, speaking about issues of diversity around gender and sexuality, Gale asks, rhetorically, ” How gay is AWP?,” before stating that she feels she is “30% gay” because of “all the time with girls before I started dating guys.”
No one in his or her right mind would argue that quantity guarantees quality, but to suggest that quantity never produces quality strikes me as snobbish, inane and demonstrably untrue.
“A jury decided in February that Jennifer Pedroza had been conned when the rights were sold to Random House. It found that Amanda Hayward, who signed the deal on behalf of their firm The Writers Coffee Shop, tricked Ms Pedroza into signing a restructuring contract that cut her out of royalties rights.”
Said one of the scandalized young fellas, “the nature of Fun Home means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature.” Explained another, “I would [also] not have read the book if the pictures were of heterosexual intercourse.”
“He wants us to believe, in other words, that he was turned off by a handful of panels in a comic with thousands of them. Grasso’s vague word choice [in his larger argument] suggests that he knows how ridiculous this objection really is.”
Yes, there’s a Tumblr for them – the brainchild of Jez Burrows. “The best part, though, is how existentially moving these stories become. Burrows creates recipes (where he features the aforementioned gallons of blood) and poignantly moving confessionals that turn on their head with the last sentence.”
A newly published list of Amazon.co.uk’s biggest selling e-books of the year features psychological thrillers, misery memoirs, Mills and Boon and a book by the Tory MP Nadine Dorries, whose first work was memorably described by a Telegraph reviewer as “the worst novel I’ve read in 10 years”.
“Given that August is Women in Translation Month (or WITMO2015), we decided to put together a starter list of essential women writers in translation. Certainly it’s an incomplete list, but we did our best to take the long view” – all the way back to the 10th century.
Oh yes, it’s true. After all, “in much of Europe in the 1950s, socialists, people who called themselves ‘left’ – the very people whom many Americans thought no better than Communists – were about the only people who gave a damn about fighting Communism.” Consequently, “the CIA became a major player in intellectual life during the Cold War.”
The Open Book shop in Scotland’s ‘national book town’ of Wigtown has been listed on room-letting website AirBnB offering wordy holidaymakers the chance to work a 40-hour week selling books and customising the store with their ‘own stamp’.”
From “the bomb” to “holla” to the very short-lived “YOLO,” black slang words often go through the cycle of being used by black people, discovered by white people, and then effectively “killed” due to overuse and a general lack of understanding of how to use these words.
“At the [science fiction prizes’] presentation each August, the [winners] have been joined by … those of other ethnicities and genders and sexual orientations, many of whom want to tell stories about more than just spaceships. Early this year, that shift sparked a backlash: a campaign, organized by three white, male authors, that resulted in a final Hugo ballot dominated by mostly white, mostly male nominees.” But the final voting didn’t exactly work out as planned …
Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation is told from the point of view of an Algerian named Harun, the younger brother of the Arab man [Camus’s protagonist] Meursault killed. Meursault was a European who killed an Arab. Harun is an Arab who – we learn – killed a European. Harun’s first line? ‘Mama’s still alive today.'”
“So here is a caveat lector: if you see an announcement of a ‘new’ work by Scott Fitzgerald, or any other classic author with a ready-made audience, check their archive catalogue first (most of them are digitised). It is probably just unpublished, and many will argue that it should stay that way.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, author of Remains of the Day: “I’ve been in the habit of keeping a large cardboard box under my desk into which I throw, more or less indiscriminately, all papers produced during my writing that I don’t want to file neatly and take into the next stage of composition: earlier drafts of chapters, rejected pages, scraps of paper with scribbled thoughts, repeated attempts at the same paragraph. etc.”
“The more we talk about Wallace without talking about his work—which, of course, is the whole reason we’re here, talking about him—the more we aid in this false image of him as bro-lord. His fiction is thoughtful and daring and adventurous and sad and fun and difficult and complex.”
“Who’s your favourite villain in literature, and why?”
“Frankenstein’s monster, because he’s right: Victor Frankenstein is an entitled dick who doesn’t care about the humanity of his creation.”
“I may be one of the last people to be burdened by the self-imposed obligation to read certain books during the golden months of vacation. These days, the summer-reading list seems to have gone the way of the perfect tan.”
“Described as an ‘open slush pile’ by Cory Doctorow when it launched in 2008, Authonomy allowed users to submit their manuscripts for discussion, critique and ranking by fellow site members. The top five each month were read by HarperCollins editors, with 47 going on to be picked up for publication, including works by Miranda Dickinson, Steven Dunne and Kat French.”