“Since scientific knowledge is still growing by a factor of ten every 50 years, it should not be surprising that lots of facts people learned in school and universities have been overturned and are now out of date,” writes Ronald Bailey in his review of Samuel Arbesman’s The Half-life of Facts.
The 2012 Best Translated Book Award long list has been announced. Among the contenders in the fiction category are Edouard Levé for Suicide, reviewed on The Millions here; Mathias Énard‘s Zone, which our own Garth Risk Hallberg described as “the kind of book that can tie a critic in absolute knots“; and Jean-Philippe Toussaint‘s The Truth About Marie, which The Millions Staffer Mark O’ Connell called “a strange and unsettling novel that upholds its author’s status as one of the most exciting figures in contemporary fiction.” One of Chad Harbach‘s year in reading selections, Dezso Kosztolányi‘s Kornél Esti, also made the list.
After Herzog came out, Saul Bellow began the slow transformation from young Bellow into old Bellow, from the critically adored but little-known writer to the Nobel Prize winner whose views were solicited on every topic. In The New Yorker, Louis Menand writes about a new biography of the author, which tackles his early career. Related: our own Emily St. John Mandel on Bellow’s novel The Bellarosa Connection.
This one goes out to all you procrastinators out there. A woman in Auckland, New Zealand has just returned a library book (Myths and Legends of Maoriland) a cool sixty-seven years late–she had “been meaning to return it” for decades. Hopefully she didn’t leave any boogers.
“The hijacking of public language, as is happening now, is a way to shift perception—to bend and control thought—and must be resisted.” Summer Brennan pens a powerful first entry for her twice-monthly column about language and power at The Literary Hub. Read also our own Lydia Kiesling, who tells us, “I have to believe that literature can be a weapon of a sort — it explodes comfort even while it delivers comfort; it reveals hypocrisy in a way that the mere presentation of facts often cannot.”