New Yorkers: don’t miss your chance to catch Madness, Rack, and Honey author Mary Ruefle in conversation with Alice Quinn. Also, be sure to read Ruefle’s essay, “I Remember, I Remember” if you haven’t yet done so.
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.
On January 25th, if you’re in New York City, you could do worse than to listen to a handful of New York Magazine editors discuss non-fiction storytelling. The event is being held in conjunction with Longreads and Housing Works Bookstore Café.
BOMB Magazine sits down with Rebecca Makkai, author of Music for Wartime and The Hundred-Year House. “People love to underrate plot, because it makes them sound like they’re beyond it, like plot is best left to Danielle Steele.“ For more Makkai, check out our interview with her.
In the world of selling books, it’s not all about the sentences. At Ploughshares, agent Eric Nelson argues: A fresh plot matters and unusual characters do, too. “The most interesting books have characters who do the opposite of what we’d do… Imagine Hamlet, if Hamlet took decisive action. Horror movies wouldn’t exist at all without the idiot who always suggests they split up.”
Consider these two Tumblrs as late additions to my three-part (one, two, three) taxonomy of literary blogs. Writers at Work is three years in the making, so we’re a bit late to the party, but Erasing Infinite, which creates erasure poems out of each page of Infinite Jest, looks like it’s got a long way to go before it’s finished.