“We are not buried in history, but surrounded by it. You can’t avoid our behavior being shaped by it, to a considerable degree. We have this fantasy that we are free of history. This allows us not to see the circumstances, the historical circumstances of other people.” The Rumpus interviews Russell Banks about his new book Voyager: Travel Writings.
It’s a bumper crop of new books this week: Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men, Kathryn Harrison’s Enchantements, László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango (reviewed here), and Adam Levin’s Hot Pink. Also out this week are Alain de Botton’s Religion for Athiests and Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander’s New American Haggadah.
Last year we highlighted University of Nebraska Press among other small presses for the keeping in print otherwise little known future Nobel laureates. Today’s honoree Mario Vargas Llosa is quite well-known by comparison, but University of Nebraska Press has nonetheless (barely) run its Nobel streak to three straight years by way of Vargas Llosa’s inclusion in the press’ soccer writing anthology, The Global Game: Writers on Soccer.
You might have heard that a new Shirley Jackson book appeared on shelves this week. A collection of previously unpublished work, Let Me Tell You was published by Penguin Random House, which happens to be the place where Benjamin Dreyer, a lifelong Shirley Jackson fan, works as a copy chief and managing editor. At The Toast, he describes how it felt to edit his favorite writer.
Over at the Literary Hub, Morgan Jerkins writes about the struggle to describe blackness. As she puts it, “My hope is to create imperfect, multitudinous black women who are more in tune with themselves than their audiences.” Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”
Three thousand Russians volunteered to proofread “forty-six thousand eight hundred pages” of Leo Tolstoy’s writings over the course of fourteen days. Soon their efforts will be available online for all to see. Meanwhile, Buzzfeed is catching some heat for enlisting the services of unpaid Duolingo students in order to translate site content for Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese readers.