In a head-scratching piece of writing for the New Statesman, Dave Eggers (whose novel The Circle just cracked our Top Ten) reflects on a cross-country drive he took from Jeddah to Riyadh. The journey, and in particular a comment made by his chauffeur, caused Eggers to ponder the significance of his nationality, his ability to perceive danger, and the intentions of others. The short of it: Some people from other countries are nice. Who knew?
What if H.P. Lovecraft’s work were set in Hollywood instead of New England? At The Toast, Kevin Sharp writes Lovecraftian gossip columns. “Two very famous couples, both well known for their complicated personal lives and grand professional successes (less known, perhaps, for the horrid dark secrets that throb and scream in their antediluvian Hollywood mansions), met for a fateful dinner.”
Over at Words Without Borders, Marguerite Feitlowitz writes on teaching the art of literary translation. As she puts it, “Bringing texts from one place to another, from one tongue, context, history, and human body to another, is itself a political act. We can tell the history of the world through the history of when major texts have been translated—and where, why, and by whom.” Pair with this Millions piece on literary translators at work.
“In contemporary capitalist societies, libraries stand out as slightly odd. While people are generally accustomed to going into a store and having to pay if they plan on leaving with something – in a library this relationship is quite different.” From AirBnB to Zipcar, startups premised on the so-called “sharing economy” tout themselves as radical and disruptive. Except that another institution – the public library – has been offering communal property for hundreds of years.
Not that the circumstances are always ideal, as our own Jacob Lambert attests in his “Open Letter to the Person Who Wiped Boogers on My Library Book.”