The Daily Bruin is a running a stunning multimedia series about “the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Malawi, a country that outlaws homosexuality and in which UCLA has a strong research presence.” Two recent UCLA graduates – Sonali Kohli and Blaine Ohigashi – spent 24 days interviewing LGBT Malawians, activists and researchers “about the healthcare and human rights challenges the community faces.” As with the 40 Towns project I’ve mentioned previously, the result of Kohli and Ohigashi’s reportage is a testament to the quality of student journalism.
"I wasn’t exactly feeling this. Still, I did try to rationalize what I was doing: maybe being altruistic and selfish at the same time was actually a good way to live, making sure sacrifice doesn’t go too far?" A psalm for a selfish hospice volunteer from Andy Mozina over at Electric Literature.
Lots of new releases this week, among them a new paperback edition of Tenth of December by George Saunders. Also out: Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus; The Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah; On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee; The Scent of Pine by Lara Vapnyar; The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd; The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani; and Little Failure by Year in Reading alum Gary Shteyngart. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2014 Book Preview.
PEN America has announced the longlist for its 2017 Translation Prize, including Deborah Smith for Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (see our review here), Carlos Rojas for Yan Lianke’s The Explosion Chronicles, and Victoria Cribb for Sjón's Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was. (We profiled Sjón's work at length a few years back!) The winner will be announced in February of 2017.
You may have heard (via this site or elsewhere) that Harold Bloom has a new book out. In the Times Sunday Book Review, Cynthia Ozick gives her take, identifying the critic's use of the phrase “without precedent” as key to understanding his theory. You could also read Matt Hanson on Bloom's classic The Anatomy of Influence.
Michiko Kakutani's generous and oddly moving review of Jay-Z's Decoded - in which she seems to find a kindred spirit - almost makes me want to take back all the mean things I've said about her. I still don't trust her judgment, but the review's worth reading just for the mental image of her in big headphones, nodding along to "Streets Is Watching." Go 'head, shorty.