In her short history of executioners, Stassa Edwards notes that the decision to replace “the traditional punishment” of drowning people “in a sack in a local river” was actually quite pragmatic: it was “more economical” to go with a simple beheading.
Asymptote, a new international journal of literary translation, is up for free online and comes packed with ear candy. Though all the content is translated into English, an audio recording of the authors reading their work in the original language accompanies many of the pieces.
On the heels of a New Mexico school district banning Neverwhere because a mother considered it "R-rated," Neil Gaiman delivered a lecture for the Reading Agency about the importance of libraries and reading for children. "It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different," he said about banning books.
If his new novel Against the Country is any indication, Ben Metcalf gets his best inspiration from the worst of rural America. In the book, which features a panoply of awful crimes and obscenities, Metcalf rides roughshod over the notion of the rural idyll. In Bookforum, onetime Millions staffer Emily Colette Wilkinson reviews the novel, calling it “a gut-busting knee slapper” in spite of its glut of macabre scenes.
Last Thursday, Faulkner Literary Rights, the company controlling William Faulkner’s works, proved two things by suing Sony Pictures Classics: 1) that they finally got around to seeing Midnight In Paris (2011); and 2) that they’re not down with Woody Allen’s decision to include two of the Nobel Prize-winning author’s lines in Owen Wilson’s dialogue.