“I think writing about the real world, as we live in it today, is very difficult; many writers try to escape it. But then what books will be the classics from our generation? Which of them will be the commentaries on our lot?” William Ruof argues that studying nonfiction may make the best fiction writers in a piece for The State Press.
The American Literary Translators Association has announced this year’s recipients of the National Translation Award. Prose honors went to William M. Hutchins’s translation from the Arabic of Ibrahim al-Koni’s The New Waw: Saharan Oasis, and the poetry winner was Pierre Joris’s translation from the German of Paul Celan’s Collected Later Poetry.
In random-but-awesome news, Geoff Manaugh‘s BLDGBLOG reports on a new project by Dutch earth scientists to piece together what they’re calling an “atlas of the underworld.” Using CT scans to visualize “invisible landscape features—the ghostly remains of entire continents—hidden inside the planet,” the project will reveal a surface within earth’s surface. See also: our review of Where You Are, an anthology of sixteen alternative maps by a range of artists and writers including Geoff Dyer, Valeria Luiselli, and Leanne Shapton.
New this week: Awl co-founder Choire Sicha’s debut Very Recent History; Elizabeth Cohen’s new story collection The Hypothetical Girl; Elect H. Mouse State Judge by Nelly Reifler; The Virgins by Pamela Erens (which Erens herself wrote about for us on Friday); The Rathbones by Janice Clark; and Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain. For more on these and other upcoming titles, check out our Great 2013 Second-half Book Preview.
Year in Reading alum Maria Popova of Brain Pickings writes her first book review for The New York Times on Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall, a Harvard cosmologist. Randall proposes ”that a thin disk of dark matter in the plane of the Milky Way triggered a minor perturbation in deep space that caused the major earthly catastrophe that decimated the dinosaurs.” Jenny Hendrix writes about modern-day extinction for The Millions.
South Floridian bandits, fishermen, drunks, madmen, and college students are mourning the imminent demise of beloved Miami institution, Jimbo’s. The site of the “Who Lets The Dogs Out” video, the Flipper movie starring Elijah Wood, and a couple iterations of the now-defunct Swampstomp music festival, Jimbo’s defied summation. Put simply, you had to see it yourself. The way I always explained it to my friends up North was by telling them it was like The Rum Diary met CBGB’s and Will Smith’s “Miami” video. Still, even that’s insufficient, so I recommend reading the Miami New Times‘ epic chronicle of the place’s history.
“The University of Bologna in Italy has found what it says may be the oldest complete scroll of Judaism’s most important text, the Torah.”