The Quarterly Conversation has commissioned short essays from a panel of luminaries, including Juan Goytisolo and Enrique Vila-Matas, for a feature on untranslated masterworks called “Translate This Book!” Highly recommended.
In 2002, David Friedman thought of a question he wanted to ask Oliver Sacks, on the topic of 3D glasses and “pseudoscopic” vision. A week after he sent the letter, he received a typewritten reply, complete with diagrams. At The Morning News, a copy of the letter he received, along with background.
With the full trailer out for the upcoming James Bond release, Skyfall, I have to confess I’m totally obsessing over British spy stuff of late. Luckily there are some supplements to scratch that itch: Tina Rosenberg’s new story for The Atavist, D for Deception, about a real British spy writer who became a spy himself; Bee Wilson’s fascinating review of Ben MacIntyre’s outrageous but true investigation of WWII double agents, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies; Alexander Cockburn's recap of the time George Orwell supplied "a list of the names of persons on the left who he deemed security risks" to the IRD; the story of Ernest Hemingway's lousy espionage; and the video Her Royal Majesty's recent skydiving escapade with 007.
In the run-up to the Egyptian elections, writers and booksellers discuss the military clampdown following Mubarak's fall.
A new laureateship award worth €150,000 was created by Ireland's Arts Council in conjunction with University College Dublin and New York University. The award will be given to "an outstanding Irish writer of fiction" with hopes that the author will "promote [Irish] literature around the world" and "inspire the public to engage with the best Irish fiction." The first appointment will be made in 2014.
Amazon released their annual Best Books of the Year: Top 100 in Print list today (as well as a free and helpful Reader’s Guide), and numerous Millions favorites made the cut. Both George Saunders’s Tenth of December and Philipp Meyer’s The Son cracked the top 10. We reviewed both here and here, respectively. Other notable books boasting extensive Millions coverage include Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings (review), George Packer’s The Unwinding (review), Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (review), Dave Eggers’s The Circle (review), James Salter’s All That Is (review), Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove (interview), Stuart Nadler’s Wise Men (review), Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic (review), and Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary (review). Meanwhile, the top spot belongs to Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.