New this week are The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus, a collection of William H. Gass’s writings, Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts, and Stewart O’Nan’s The Odds: A Love Story. New in paperback is Teju Cole’s Open City.
The premier English-language translator of modern Chinese fiction, Howard Goldblatt, says flatly that Western audiences don’t read Chinese books. However, with last year’s Nobel Prize win for Mo Yan (and the rave review his novel Pow! received in the Times), Goldblatt and other scholars are hoping that could change.
Sometime Ph.D candidate, sometime actor, and ubiquitous lit blog all-star James Franco (henceforth known as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”) has begun filming an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God in West Virginia, and I’m reminded of that line from W. B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming” — “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”
New York-area readers are invited to come tonight to Housing Works bookstore in SoHo, where I’ll be appearing at 7 p.m. alongside the Norwegian wunderkind Johan Harstad. We’ll be reading from and discussing A Field Guide to the North American Family and Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion? Music courtesy of Brooklyn’s The Sweaters (not to be confused with The Cardigans.)
Charles Petersen traces the fascinating history of the New York Public Library to show the real cost of the planned renovations and the pitfalls of the inevitable digital libraries of the future. Mark Athitakis observes how archives flatten fictions with keywording.