Recently, a Czech linguist named Jakob Murian came up with an estimate of the number of languages your average European speaks. The study is complicated, however, by the question of how much you need to know to really understand a given language. At the LRB’s blog, Glen Newey asks: are you fluent when you can order a beer, or when you can translate Virgil? Pair with: Abigail Rasminsky on learning to speak German.
All week I’ve been enjoying posts by Jeremy Blachman at the Powell’s blog about life after the publication of his debut novel, Anonymous Lawyer. I particularly enjoyed hearing about his experience at BEA.In other blogging authors news. Critically acclaimed crime novelist George Pelecanos paid a vist to Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and left three posts. His new book is The Night Gardener.BarnesandNoble.com now accepts PayPal, so sell stuff on eBay and use the proceeds to buy books!Can’t remember if it’s forbidding, foreboding, or formidable? Check out Common Errors in English Usage, also available in book form.
Has Joan Didion become “the Ultimate Literary Celebrity“? In an article for the New Republic Laura Marsh says “yes,” and then explains how that happened. Marsh’s efforts pair well with Franklin Strong‘s recent Millions essay on “The Manliness of Joan Didion,” Joan Didion being a literary figure who easily adapts to any description.
Tonight marks the beginning of Eid al-Adha, a three-day Muslim holiday commemorating Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son, Ishmael. The annual event draws over two and a half million Muslims on Hajj to Saudi Arabia. It makes for an incredibly moving sight, and this year, thanks to Google’s partnership with the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information, you can check out a live stream of the pilgrimage from the comfort of your own home.
On Monday, the Harry Ransom Center announced that it had acquired the complete archive of Gabriel García Márquez, which includes notebooks, photo albums and correspondence by the late Nobel laureate. For Márquez fans, the most important part of the collection may We’ll See Each Other in August, the author’s final, unfinished novel. Pair with: Charles Finch on Márquez and the modern novel.