The VQR‘s last issue, “The Soviet Ghost,” was one of the most heart-wrenching reading experiences I’ve had in a long time. Now it’s got a series of video interviews with Chernobyl workers to seriously depress (and also greatly inform) you all over again.
“When I heard Afro-Brazilian people speak Portuguese, first in films like City of God and Bus 174, and then live and direct in Bahia, I fell hard for the ease, lyricism, and lilt in their voices which reminded me of the Anglophone Caribbean family and community I grew up in.” Over at Words Without Borders, Naomi Jackson reflects on blackness in Brazil.
“I am so grateful for this tool in my writer’s toolkit. It has liberated both me and my texts from an overbearing approach to ‘getting it right.’” Cara Benson for the Amazon Author Insights blog (full disclosure: Amazon helps us pay the bills over here!) on the benefits of writing and revising by hand. And she’s not the only one who likes to go manual.
Ever wondered how the fact-checking process works? Well wonder no longer. The Columbia Journalism Review posted an excerpt from their recently published Art of Making Magazines collection, and it explains The New Yorker’s workflow as well as the perils of “Shoot-the-Fact-Checker Syndrome.”
Novels that focus on obsessive characters hinge on persnickety details. The need to depict accurately the mind of an obsessive demands that the novelist overemphasize the trifling and tangential. In The Kenyon Review, Vanessa Blakeslee reviews a new and representative example of the form, The Understory by Pamela Erens. Sample quote: “When the smaller steps of daily life are magnified, does that narrative reach its greatest potential for a unified and powerful resonance?” FYI, Erens has written for us.
Maria Popova, who recently wrote a Year In Reading post for our series, has teamed up with artist Lisa Congdon on a new project concerning notable women working in art, science and literature. For each week in 2013, The Reconstructionists will present an illustrated portrait of one “trailblazing woman, along with a hand-lettered quote that captures her spirit.” Updates will also feature a “sort micro-essay about her life and legacy.” Up first in the series are Anaïs Nin, Gertrude Stein, Agnes Martin, and Hedy Lamarr.
Remember when I wrote about Bonnie Huie’s translation of Qiu Miaojin’s Notes of a Crocodile? Well here’s some more about Huie’s work. Over at the PEN blog, you can check out the translator’s introduction to Miaojin as well as an additional excerpt from the translation-in-progress.