The 2010 National Book Awards were announced this evening. In fiction, Jaimy Gordon won for The Lord of Misrule; in nonfiction, Patti Smith won for Just Kids; in poetry, Terrance Hayes won for Lighthead; and for young people’s literature, Kathryn Erskine won for Mockingbird.
What can we make of the fact that members of the Guantánamo Bay medical staff have adopted Shakespearean names in “an attempt to avoid being held liable for any mistreatment of detainees?” Globe Theatre artistic director Dominic Dromgoole and Guantánamo detainees lawyer Clive Stafford Smith ponder the question.
To begin to translate a book, you need to hone your knowledge of the language in which it’s written. To write a great essay about translating a book, you need a backstory, an interesting format and two or three foreign parables. At The Rumpus, Brian Oliu writes about translating his grandfather’s book from the Catalan.
If you’ve ever had a successful friend you secretly envied and maybe even hated, you may be in startlingly good company: a new reading of an old letter between Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot indicates that the “flamboyant misanthrope and the restrained one” shared exactly this kind of frenemyship. Unrelated: a short recording of Eliot reading “The Naming of Cats.”
In a big week for new releases, we have Lev Grossman’s The Magician King, the sequel to his blockbuster debut The Magicians; Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes, reviewed here today; another new Geoff Dyer book, The Missing of the Somme; DBC Pierre’s Lights Out in Wonderland; and Kevin Wilson’s debut novel The Family Fang (which one blurber calls The Royal Tenenbaums meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf). Four of the five books above, incidentally, were featured in our big second-half preview. And out in a paperback this week are a pair of award winners: Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies and David Grossman’s To the End of the Land.
Few people know that Roger Ebert was an ardent Anglophile, so much so that in 1986 he wrote an obscure little book, The Perfect London Walk, in which the lifelong film critic laid out his preferred walking path through the city. Over at Slate, Katie Engelhart reviews the book, which apparently still functions as a guide to a decent stroll.