One Goodreads vigilante has created a master list of authors notorious for responding immaturely or meanly to negative reviews of their work. Elsewhere, iDreamBooks, a new Rotten Tomatoes-type service, was launched. The site aggregates critics’ book reviews and shows you what to read next.
In light of this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, which had Indonesia as the official guest of honor, check out Wayan Sunarta’s essay on the rise of Indonesian literature abroad. As he explains it, “Although Indonesian literature is in the ascendant at home, it has so far failed to establish itself internationally. The number of works translated from Indonesian is still very small.”
“All poems of public grief are private poems first,” writes Mark Doty in his evaluation of Wisława Szymborska’s poem, “Photograph from September 11th.” Indeed, what Doty learned “over the course of those dozen years, was that the words one hammers out in private, in order to attempt some kind of sense, may end up being used by people in ways you could have never anticipated.”
The Morning News Tournament of Books is almost here, and to stoke our excitement, the editors drew up this neat-looking circular bracket. If you squint at the top left, you’ll see our own Edan Lepucki, who’s judging The Round House by Louise Erdrich and The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
Slate has translated famous first lines of literature into emojis, and they’re surprisingly coherent. Pair with Jonathan Russell Clark‘s essay on opening sentences.
The Guardian interviews Year in Reading alumna Ottessa Moshfegh about her writing life, noir fiction, and her novel Eileen. As she puts it, “I’m interested in taking establishment genre and turning it on its head. I didn’t really set out to write a noir novel and I don’t know if I exactly have.”
Mary Ruefle, author of the forthcoming Madness, Rack, and Honey, wrote a poetic essay on the subject of fear. It’s chock full of lines like this one about why she likes the word dread more than the word fear: “because fear, like the unconscious emotion which is one of its forms, has only the word ear inside of it, telling an animal to listen, while dread has the word read inside of it, telling us to read carefully and find the dead, who are also there.”
The last meal is a curious staple of modern executions, not least because it involves, in the words of one death-row inmate, “putting gas in a car that don’t have no motor.” At Lapham’s Quarterly, an essay on the ritual’s history, one that includes mention of famous last meals like terminally ill French President Francois Mitterrand’s final dinner of “Marennes oysters, foie gras, and two ortolan songbirds.”