Listen to Seamus Heaney read his translation of Beowulf on the BBC’s website. For what it’s worth, Heaney’s version gets my vote as the best one out there. Consider this passage for some Wednesday inspiration.
“I have often thought that if I were ever a drag queen, and more specifically that if I were ever a drag queen who was a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I would play Virginia Woolf — or rather, Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf — in the Snatch Game episode when the contestants don their very best celebrity impersonation.” Untucking RuPaul’s Drag Race at The Los Angeles Review of Books.
Peter Mendelsund writes for the Paris Review about how we see, or think we see, fictional characters. “Characters are ciphers. … We are ever reviewing and reconsidering our mental portraits of characters in novels: amending them, backtracking to check on them, updating them when new information arises.”
We have a lot of prizes that honor well-crafted first novels. But what about the second novel, which is far more likely to be ignored? Herewith, Dan Kois announces that Slate is teaming up with the Whiting Foundation to produce We Second That, a list of under-recognized second novels from the past five years. You could also read our own Bill Morris on the golden age of the second novel.
Amazon’s 7″ Kindle Fire tablet will sell for $199 — less than half the cost of Apple’s cheapest iPad. The color, touch-screen tablet will run Google’s Android software and have access to Amazon’s app store, streaming movies and TV shows. Additionally, Amazon’s announced the launch of the $99 Kindle Touch, and has reduced the price of the standard Kindle to $79.