Since 2010, Russian publishing professionals estimate that “as many as 20% of [all] Russian book stores have closed.” Each year, they fear, the number of “dedicated readers in Russia declines by 2%.” To remedy these trends, the Russian government has recently approved a $100 million stimulus package for the nation’s book industry – running the gamut from investment in new bookstores, to tax incentives for small presses, and also to more international book fairs – to be dispersed through 2018. Recently, Emily Parker noted in The New York Times that Russia’s literary problems might be blamed on its lack of “good protest literature.”
Leave it to Roxane Gay to come up with a novel format for an essay on the feminist novel. In the new issue of Dissent, she presents eleven theses on the topic, including references to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Sample quote: “Not every novel that concerns itself with the lives of women is a feminist novel. Fifty Shades of Grey is not a feminist novel.” You could also read our own Edan Lepucki on the problem with feminist anthems.
Adonis, the great Syrian poet, has reproduced and adapted one of the ancient Muallaqat (The Suspended Odes) originally written by Zuhayr. The reproduction is hand-written on a scroll of paper, and then painted on, thereby “creating a new and contemporary interpretation of the text.”
At the Paris Review Daily, Nick Antosca reminisces on reading Lolita at 12: “Who among my seventh-grade classmates, I wondered with a frisson, was such a creature? What girl had that ‘soul-shattering, insidious charm’ that, while invisible to me, made the antennae of certain adult males tremble?”