Anyone who travels a lot will enjoy Dubravka Ugresic‘s essay on hotel minibars. As a matter of fact, just about anyone will enjoy this essay regardless of how often they travel.
This past Wednesday Tracy K. Smith officially began her term as the new U.S. Poet Laureate. After adding her name to the guest book traditionally signed by poet laureates upon the start of their one year term, she read aloud from previously published poetry collections and introduced new work. Ron Charles from the Washington Post reports “[a]mong her most powerful new pieces were ‘found poems’ constructed from archival letters that African American veterans sent to President Lincoln asking for pensions they were owed.” Smith is the first poet laureate appointed by the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. Stay tuned for her upcoming efforts to engage rural communities in poetry discussions.
Fanny Trollope, Anthony’s mother, taught America a thing or two about decency and feminism: her scathing pen wrote books about the excesses of American society and its alienation of women. Over at Bloom, Cynthia Miller Coffel writes about this trailblazing woman who should be considered “the patron saint of middle aged women writers.”
“In Proust, the rhythm, the phrasing, the movement of the sentence, even the grammar—it’s all so complex that it would be almost impossible to repeat anyone else’s work. Because of that I’m all the more aware of the differences, and of how admirable Scott Moncrieff’s work often is.” George Plimpton interviews Richard Howard about translating Remembrance of Things Past, for the Summer 1989 issue of The Paris Review. The interview was reissued to mark Richard Howard’s birthday, who turns eighty-six today.
“When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language.” Anna Dewdney, best-selling children’s author and illustrator, died this past weekend after a battle with brain cancer. Her obituary concluded with this: “She requested that in lieu of a funeral service that people read to a child instead.”
France’s top literary award, the Prix Goncourt, has been awarded to the French-Moroccan journalist and novelist Leïla Slimani, The New York Times reports. Slimani’s book, Chanson Douce, is loosely based on a tragic case in New York City in which two children were murdered by their caretaker. Earlier this year we reviewed another book that was a finalist for the prize, The Heart.