At The Collagist, Kyle Beachy imagines the emperor Augustus saying to the poet Horace, “You and your kind are fucked!” “The Extent of Our Decline” is one of number of essays appearing in the collection I co-edited, The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, coming in March from Soft Skull.
If you want to read a book with obscenity in it in Russia after July 1, you’ll find it in a sealed package with a warning label. The law is the latest in Vladimir Putin’s censorship crusade and also bans swearing in films and live performance. Interestingly, the banned words are still up for the debate by the Ministry of Culture. At The New Yorker, David Remnick discusses just how unique and diverse the Russian language’s profanity is.
Would you rather be sentenced to almost eight years in prison or be forced to read Malcolm Gladwell? Convicted eco-terrorist Rebecca Rubin was sentenced to five years in prison and told to read Gladwell’s David and Goliath. The judge believes Rubin could learn non-violent protest from Gladwell. Pair with: Our own Michael Bourne’s review of the book.
“As a literary symbol portraying man’s tragic nature, is any more compelling than a gun? A gun lets fear become death, quiet desperation become brutality whose fallout others are forced to deal with.” Over at The Literary Hub, a list of 10 novels that follow Chekhov‘s famous dictum, literally. Might we also suggest our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s The Singer’s Gun?
“Stop smoking, first of all, and then don’t hold your breath, don’t cough, do not for any reason pick up heavy packages, boxes, suitcases. Never lean over, or dive headfirst into water. The carnal throes of passion were forbidden, because even an ardent kiss could cause my veins to burst.” At long last, Lina Meruane’s semi-autobiographical novel Seeing Red has been published in English. Meruane has long been hailed as one of the most brilliant South American writers that American readers had probably never heard of.
Authors, are you struggling to get your book’s characters together? Are they lacking a little spark, a little intimacy? Well, have no fear. The folks at Open Road Media put together a video with Erica Jong, Lawrence Block, Patricia Gaffney, and a few more authors on The Art of Writing Sex Scenes. This should do the trick.
In more “Dylan at 70” news, the knowledgeable Ed Ward reviews the compilation How Many Roads: Black America Sings Bob Dylan for The Oxford American. (Editor’s Note: The omission from this album of Nina Simone‘s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” and Ben E. King‘s “Lay Lady Lay” are both unconscionable.)