Latest Posts

Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name

Francisco Goldman is an unlikely Hades. Other than the cartoonish arch of his black eyebrows and his swarthy overall appearance, he is more Pan than underworld overlord. He is quick to laugh and does so with abandon; he has an infectious appreciation for beauty and eccentricity, is prone to exuberance, flights of fancy.

Mr. Stein drops knowledge

Mr. Lorin Stein making a direct link between the decline of independent booksellers and the falling number of so-called "midlist" literary authors.

Asides

  • Pete Mulvihill [of Green Apple Books] asked his customers to decide for themselves what importance an indie presence has in their lives: "If you think Green Apple is a necessary part of the San Francisco literary landscape, then shop here, or shop here more often, or bring us new customers, or pay cash, or bring your own bag, or Yelp or blog about us. If you're in 'the media,' write about us or have us on your show.  Forward our e-mail newsletter to friends who read. Or if you'd rather shop online, our website is very functional. And if you read e-books, give our Google e-books a chance. We can help.... But if you'd rather not have a bookstore in your community, shop mostly or only at Amazon. No one should shop at Green Apple out of charity or pity or noblesse oblige, but because you want what we've got. You mold the retail landscape with every purchase; vote wisely." [via Shelf Awareness] permalink
  • Peter Mendelsund, one of the industry's top designers (and, honestly, one of my favorites) explains the hideous choices he made when redesigning Kafka for Schocken.  On the plus side, there's the gorgeous typography by Julia Sysmäläine developed from Kafka's own handwriting (!) and the brilliant Knopf/Arendt story for industry nerds. Enjoy. permalink
  • The winner of the Porjes Prize is Peter Cole, for The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain 950–1492 . . . Gabriel Josipovici hailed Cole’s work as a “treasure trove, a labour of love and exceptional erudition, which will open up . . . a world of poetry and culture as rich as anything in human civilization”.  [And more translation prize news via The Sunday Times] permalink
  • The long-in-coming first issue of the Los Angeles Review of Books is now set to launch online in March and as shown by the website's list of articles and reviews coming soon -- it will be absolutely unbelievably massive. Dozens and dozens and dozens of reviews and interviews of all kinds are lined up. permalink
  • As recounted in Frans G. Bengtsson's ridiculously fun novel of tenth-century Viking life, The Long Ships:"Even if you cannot fully match my skill at composing verses," he said," yet be of good cheer. Remember that it is given to the poets to drink from the largest horn at the banquet of the gods."I believe that savvier publishers have long used that eternal privilege as a reason not to give advances for books of poetry. permalink
  • Vertigo considers one of Javier Marias' least-discussed books: Written Lives. permalink
  • At 82 years of age, Carlos Fuentes is still churning them out. His newest novel is reviewed at The Barnes & Noble Review. permalink
  • From The Guardian via Michael Orthofer, news of the weirdest  book this side of the Tigris: "Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein had sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur'an." [and at the Literary Saloon] permalink
  • In case you've ever wanted to see it, James Joyce's death mask. permalink
  • "His fictions contain vivid precincts to explore, constructed by an artist who understood –in fact worshipped – the powerful connections that lie, waiting to be made, between the covers of a book." [From Chris Powers' A brief survey of the short story series at The Guardian] permalink
  • Moby Lives puts the Kindle and printed versions of Lonely Planet to the test. And the winner is . . . permalink
  • In addition, of course, to Thomas Bernhard's, My Prizes--reviewed here, at BookForum--there's a hilarious interview in Conjunctions' new Fall issue. When agreeing to the interview, Bernhard wrote, "I'm open for anything you might want to do with me, including killing me." And, while discussing the rest of the world's population--because, why not?--"It would be great if as soon as we turned up in Kabul a massacre broke out, and everywhere we went people were just dropping like flies." permalink
  • The New York Times Book Review just published its notable 100 for 2010.  Topping the list is the misleading "Fiction and Poetry" header, misleading as it is mostly fiction and three books of poems.  Yes, 3.  There are three fiction titles starting with the letter A on the list.  Oh, the hypocrisy. permalink
  • The new issue of German fiction and poetry magazine No Man's Land is now available online. Issue #5 contains, among many other wonderful things, "an excerpt from Werner Bräunig's legendary, banned GDR novel Fairground," and an excerpt from a piece by Siegfried Lenz that acts "as a rejoinder, thirty years later, to Germany's shrill debate on integration (pace Thilo Sarrazin)." News of the new issue comes courtesy of translator and co-editor Katy Derbyshire, whose well-known blog, love german books, remains consistently fascinating and informative. permalink

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