Five years ago, Jacques Lezra was asked to translate a book of untranslateable words. “The project provided me, and my co-editors,” he writes, “with a vivid sense of the history of how people think, and how societies think differently from one another.” This week, the fruits of their labor were published by Princeton University Press, and to celebrate the occasion, the publisher has released six PDFs of sample entries: begriff, kitsch, media, polis, right, and saudade.
For those in New York City this week, Goodreads is hosting a literary pub crawl around lower Manhattan this Thursday night starting at 7 p.m. Millions contributor Emily St. John Mandel will be joined by fellow authors Colson Whitehead and Amy King for a reading at Housing Works. After that, the group will decamp for Botanica and Tom & Jerry’s before finishing the evening at KGB Bar. The event is free (though the booze will cost you).
Trader Joe’s, circa 1877: “It’s always the same complaint: ‘Joe, you don’t have any of the essential items that every other trading post has. Why don’t you have saddles? Or gunpowder? Or basic tools?’ Because I have soy chorizo, that’s why! Because I have chocolate-covered peanut-butter-filled pretzels!”
If your default mood hovers between melancholy and despair, you may be cheered (or at least made a bit less glum) by this argument that striving for happiness is bad for us in the long run. Mari Ruti makes the case that a “happy, balanced life” depends in large part on a kind of emotional numbness.
Are you familiar with JT LeRoy (or rather, Savannah Knoop … or wait, Laura Albert), perpetrator of one of the greatest literary hoaxes in recent memory? Author: The JT LeRoy Story is a new documentary by Jeff Feuerzeig that asks questions about whether or not existence is predicated on real-world physicality — LeRoy’s books exist, so doesn’t LeRoy exist by association?