Amazon announced a new crop of digital reading devices today – bringing their lineup to seven in total. The new $119 Kindle Paperwhite features an “ambient light” display, an eight-week battery life, and adjustable fonts; the 3G version will retail for $179. A new Kindle Fire HD starts at $199 — and one with an 8.9″ display starts at $299. Meanwhile the standard Kindle has dropped in price to $69, and the standard Kindle Fire is down to $159. Additionally, Jeff Bezos announced the debut of a new $1.99 Kindle Serials program: customers can buy a serial once, and seamlessly receive all future installments as they come out. The full rundown of announcements (including this mind-blowing chart) can be found on The Verge‘s liveblog.
Boston has announced the country's first "Literary Culture District," marked by memorials to Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath. It also includes some arguably less interesting sites - the buildings that used to house The Atlantic Monthly and Little, Brown and Company, for example. Caroline O'Donovan writes critically about the new district for The Baffler and concludes that "we’ve allowed glib cultural ideals to occlude economic realities, and tourism tax dollars to triumph over a candid conversation about the origins of art and the sustainability of its production."
That writing and coffee go hand in hand is no surprise, but drinking heavy cream from a coffee mug? That's a little unusual, even for Agatha Christie. Flavorwire has collected 9 of the oddest food rituals of famous writers, and their list pairs well with this infographic on writing and snacks, and with Seth Sawyers's Millions essay on food and reading, "Because I, Too, Am Hungry."
Here is a helpful User’s Guide to John Irving from the good people over at Hazlitt–it should be all you need in order to tackle Irving’s newest novel, Avenue of Mysteries. This slightly disheartened take on what it’s like to re-read Irving is worth a look.
"The newest for-real book section at Barnes & Noble" (via reddit)
We tend to take it for granted that the world needs more translated works. The dictates of common wisdom state that reading translated works help us understand the reality of foreign cultures. But what if translation, which erases at least some nuance from works of literature, instead “sifts out the foreign or the unsettling in the name of easy consumption”? In The Irish Times, Michael Cronin reviews a recent book by NYU professor Emily Apter.
“In the morning, before we left, we presented my aunt with a gift from Indonesia, a package of luwak, one of four in Bon’s duffel. Civet coffee? she said, bemused. We were already savoring cups of coffee at her table, brewed in her coffee press from Arabica beans of her own supply.” An excerpt from Year in Reading alumnus Viet Thanh Nguyen's forthcoming novel appears in the new issue of Ploughshares.