The strange thing is that these moments of love and loss are not the place where language finds its truest expression of meaning but are in fact the place where meaning itself starts to break down, where language as a whole reveals its incapacities. The cliché is a marker, or a stand-in, for something we aren’t sure how to express. Whether the message is pre-printed or one we resort to writing ourselves, clichés appear where words fail. In this way, greeting cards function as material testament to the lack of articulation at the heart of human experience, drawing attention to the gap between language and life.
Ned Beauman, who writes conspiracy novels: “When we observe the Alt-Right questioning the established facts and the established world order, the last thing we should do is offer them a monopoly on that attitude. Nonetheless, if I had just written a novel that extolled, say, the spiritual joys of being alone with nature, and meanwhile enormous numbers of ill-prepared people were being found dead in the woods after succumbing to snakebites or dehydration, I might try to introduce some balance into my next paean to the wilderness.”
“‘Wooden-headedness’ in statecraft, which she defined as ‘assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs,’ has clearly become a prevailing factor in our politics. As Tuchman wrote, wooden-headedness was best captured in a remark about Philip II of Spain: ‘No experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence.'” Historian Jon Meacham argues why “there is a lesson here not only for the president but for the people.”
Psychology researcher Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi writes about what computerized data analysis has revealed about the words and phrases depressives use, and about the practical uses for that knowledge.
A translation into Syriac of one of the 2nd-century Greek physician’s treatises has been discovered as a palimpsest on the pages of an 11th-century Syriac psalter that once belonged to the Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai. Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Silicon Valley are now scanning the book to recover as much text as possible.
“[This] isn’t to say 2017 wasn’t a good year for the short story – it was, but the ‘renaissance of the short story’ story is an old one that is rolled out year after year. Does that matter? I think it does. By getting caught up in this recurring phantom narrative” – because the genre never really faded – “and dwelling on press release froth rather than the work being produced, we spurn the opportunity to talk about short stories in a way that might actually deepen how they are understood and engaged with by readers.”
“The official ruling … gives embiggen the long-overdue recognition it deserves for being both an incredibly useful word and one of the greatest things to come out of The Simpsons. Though embiggen has definitely enjoyed more popularity because of its frequent use in Ms. Marvel, the word was first introduced (in a modern pop cultural context) in ‘Lisa the Iconoclast,’ the sixteenth episode of The Simpsons‘ seventh season.”
The JCB Prize for Literature will recognize (the jury’s choice of) the best work of fiction by an Indian author either written in or translated into English from an Indian language. The winning author will receive 2.5 million rupees ($38,500), and the translator (if applicable) wins 500,000 rupees ($7,700). The aim is not only to promote Indian literature, but to encourage translations between Indian languages and into English.
The website, which makes literary works in the public domain available free of charge to users anywhere, was sued by a German publisher for offering books by Thomas Mann, whose works are out of copyright in the U.S. (where Gutenberg is based) but not in Germany. Late last week, a German court ruled in favor of the publisher, and Project Gutenberg made itself unavailable in the the Federal Republic.
Like the flagship store, all three new Shakespeare bookstores will be about 3,000 sq. ft. and will have a café with seating and Wi-Fi, as well as a book machine and carefully selected inventory. In addition, a standalone Shakespeare grab-and-go café will open this summer near the Lexington Avenue store, which is the official brick-and-mortar store for Hunter College. The café will be located outside the Hunter College Subway Station.
The entries are composed with a knowing wit. Some are twisty and loquacious, others witheringly economic. They’re structured like jokes, and there’s a light, nerdy thrill in following these paragraphs—crammed with technical terminology and seeming digressions—to the punch line. Naturally, a lot of the humor is self-directed, mocking the authors’ own sense of seriousness.
Instead, of, say, No Country for Old Men, this genre pulls from a different strand of thought. “Solarpunk prioritizes hope and resilience in the face of the climate crisis. The stories in each collection are typically set in futures where solar energy takes center stage. Many are utopian. Others are post-apocalyptic, and these articulate a Solarpunk attitude in their portrayals of humanity’s battle to renew the Earth.”
Mantel, who works during and through quite a lot of pain, her sudden but last popularity has been unexpected. “The books are not for all readers, and some complain that they’re too complex, too allusive. Yet, there they remain, the unicorn of the publishing world: thorny masterpieces that sell like iPhones.”
The comic book publishing company Lion Forge is based in St. Louis, but is finding success with digital comics, including one about eating disorders that just won an award as one of the best graphic novels for teenagers. David Steward II, the founder and CEO: “For everybody to participate, you have to have representation that looks like everyone in this country. We’ve been careful to make sure that it is an inclusive line of characters. Kind of like the United Colors of Benetton [laughs], but it feels natural and organic.”
Tomi Adeyemi was inspired to write the young adult fantasy book while she was in a gift shop in Brazil. “The African gods and goddesses were depicted in such a beautiful and sacred way … it really made me think about all the beautiful images we never see featuring black people,” she says. So she created a book with those images, not just for her younger self but also to correct fantasy’s imbalance.
How did independent bookstores bounce back against Amazon – and what could other retail industries learn? This is exactly what a professor of organizational ethnography set out to study in 2009, long
Do authors have any rights with their deathbed wishes for literary executors? Somtimes. “Slavish obedience is one route for an executor, defiance for the sake of literature another. When several parties are involved, each jealously possessive of the author, things get trickier.”
The American Library Association had given him the Carnegie Medal and a $5,000 prize for nonfiction for his most recent book, and they had intended to hand out the prize in June. He declined this week, but the ALA isn’t going back to the drawing board – they simply won’t give the medal this year.
“Later this year, Mitzi Angel, 43, the publisher of Faber & Faber in London, will join FSG as its new publisher and senior vice president,” replacing Jonathan Galassi, who spent 20 years in the job. “Ms. Angel is in many ways a natural choice for the role. She worked at FSG for seven years before she became the publisher of Faber in 2015.”
“On March 3, a small team of conservative activists converged on Revolution Books in Berkeley, Calif. live-streaming their actions on Facebook with this description: ‘Infiltrating Berkeley’s Marxist Hive.’ ‘Fucking Commie scum,’ shouted one conservative activist, taunting the bookstore employees who met them at the door. He wore an American flag on his shoulders and a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat. ‘We’re gonna burn down your bookstore, you know that right?’ he said.”
“The percentage of people that read books, newspapers, or magazines in the bathroom, according to a survey by the plumbing-fixture company American Standard. … One Oregon resident realized the amount of time spent reading in the bathroom could be an interesting business opportunity.” And thus Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader was born.
The Windham-Campbell Prizes, no-strings-attached grants of $165,000, go to English-language writers who don’t know they’re being considered. This year’s winners include British authors Olivia Laing and Sarah Bakewell, American playwrights Suzan-Lori Parks and Lucas Hnath, novelists John Keene (US) and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda/UK), and poets Cathy Park Hong (US) and Lorna Goodison (Jamaica).
More than the deluge of personal detail, the chief problem with biography is that the fundamental precepts are wrong, the principles too rigid. For the idea always seems to be that by gathering and establishing facts, cataloguing testimonies and anecdotes, each life can be made a perfect whole — that the objective biographer will see to it that there has been a plan or pattern, and dignity is conferred. I disagree. Why should a personality hang together?
One problem is that the hatred of literature, found across the political spectrum, now conforms to the dimmest clichés of anti-literature without harboring any of its intensity. As far as I can tell, the usual suspects of today’s anti-literature comprise a short list: evangelical Christians, who occasionally aim to ban books on the basis that they are Godless; Enlightenment-core scientists, like Richard Dawkins, who admonish literature because it can’t access the Real promised and delivered by science; and, occasionally, well-intentioned progressives and leftists who want to correct literature by eliminating certain authors rather than undertaking the more difficult work of challenging their writings—their style, form, or content—through literary criticism.
“More than 300 people have signed a petition to either ban or label and group materials related to homosexual and transgender content in the Orange City Public Library. … The controversy erupted in one of Iowa’s most conservative Republican counties in northwest Iowa after somebody filed a statement of concern to the library about a book on its shelves that featured LGBTQ content.”
Daniel Hahn, who won the International Dublin literary award, decided it was past time to reward translator teams for their work. “Literary translation is a difficult profession to break into. Plenty of people want to do it, but in the insular English-speaking world, there’s regrettably little work to go around, and it’s easier for publishers to entrust their books to already-known translators who are seen as less of a risk. But there are many benefits to widening our pool of working translators, not least because new translators often lead us to meet new writers.”
Also: “Search terms blocked on Sino Weibo, a microblogging site which is China’s equivalent of Twitter, include ‘disagree’, ‘personality cult’, ‘lifelong’, ‘immortality’, ’emigrate’, and ‘shameless’.”
The author, who just won The Story Prize for her Anything Is Possible, says, “The first time I read it, I was on vacation with my in-laws and sitting by the pool one of them said: ‘Liz, that’s so pretentious, can’t you cover that up?’ I almost died. So now I read it furtively in the privacy of my home.”
“John Paul Mulready (40) burst into his neighbour’s flat brandishing a serrated peeling knife after hammering at the door shouting … The injured party, Dermot Byrne, told [police] that there was a brief standoff after he picked up a frying pan to defend himself, but then Mulready tackled him to the ground, stabbed him in the leg and bit him on the face. Mr Byrne, who composes poetry, eventually got rid of the attacker by swinging a large bottle of vodka at him after another neighbour intervened.” (This really should have happened in Florida.)
Libraries aren’t just a place to store books. They also have a more symbolic purpose, as a signifier of civilization. Here are five libraries in places struggling to survive themselves.