Turns out the Streisand effect applies to book sales. The Wall Street Journal reports that banning a book in China causes sales to increase both at home and abroad. “These days, smothering someone is as good as crowning that person,” the article quotes a Chinese reader as saying. You could also read Deanna Fei on being a Chinese-American writer in China.
Here at The Millions, we tend to focus on translation as a literary form, which often leads to debates over how much a translator can change the meaning of a text. However, the majority of translation in the world is far more functional, as it is in the case of basic European bureaucracy. In The Nation, Benjamin Paloff takes a broader look at movements from one language to another. Pair with: Barclay Bram Shoemaker on translating Mo Yan’s Frog.
Are you familiar with Spook magazine founded and edited by Jason Parham? It focuses on promoting artists of color and their work. This month the fiction issue, was released and it features work from beloved writers (and Year in Reading alums!) Junot Diaz, Angela Flournoy, and Vinson Cunningham. Along with YiR favorite Justin Torres. You can buy it here! Perfect read for the snowy weekend.
At 3 Quarks Daily, Akeel Bilgrami’s essay on the pleasures of literature: “To understand what is special about literature is not to delegate the emotions to literature while retaining thought for philosophy and science. The idea is to find in the distinctly expressive function of literature, a refusal of that tired dualism.” (via Book Bench)
Those following this weekend's events in Tripoli will no doubt be interested in Banipal's issue dedicated to Libyan fiction. And, as Moammar Gaddafi's reign appears to be ending, the Guardian's evisceration of his short stories is worth a read. On NPR's site, Hisham Matar also explains the influence of Gaddafi's rule on Libyan writing.
Canadian post-rock outfit Godspeed You! Black Emperor will soon release their fourth studio album, 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!, and it’s definitely worth checking out. You can stream the record over here. The band was also recently interviewed for The Guardian, too, and this entire post should keep you occupied for a while.