Did you know Jonathan Lethem‘s a really good essayist? Thought so. Did you know he has a 450-page collection, The Ecstasy of Influence, coming out in November? Me neither. An amuse-bouche, on Norman Mailer, is up at the L.A. Review of Books.
Five years ago, Jacques Lezra was asked to translate a book of untranslateable words. “The project provided me, and my co-editors,” he writes, “with a vivid sense of the history of how people think, and how societies think differently from one another.” This week, the fruits of their labor were published by Princeton University Press, and to celebrate the occasion, the publisher has released six PDFs of sample entries: begriff, kitsch, media, polis, right, and saudade.
In today's installment of "The Unpopular Opinion," Malcolm Jones for The Daily Beast thinks that it's high time that we let Rudyard Kipling out of the penalty box. Jones argues that, while Kipling may have written a lot of "jingoistic trash," to judge him "by the standards of our time, not his, serves him poorly and obscures his true genius."
This Sunday, come out to the KGB Bar and meet The Millions! A pile of staffers including C. Max Magee, Garth Risk Hallberg, Emily St. John Mandel, Sonya Chung, and yours truly will be there, and a good number of them will be reading their work. The event even ends by nine, so you can rush home to see Mad Men.
Following the Irish release of The Guts, the new Roddy Doyle novel that brings back Jimmy Rabbitte from The Commitments, The Irish Times interviews Doyle, who remembers a time when his writing garnered him death threats. Sample quote: “I drove the guy in the next room demented as I replayed an old tape, repeating the same musical phrase, again and again.”