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.
This just in! Senator Barack Obama has "palled around" with the notorious constitutionalist Richard Posner.The good folks at Hotel St. George Press interview Taryn Simon, the artist behind the brilliant Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.Jonathan Franzen's remembrance of David Foster Wallace is quite moving......as are the Elizabeth Bishop stanzas that conclude this sterling essay on her lifelong correspondence with Robert Lowell.Alas, the only way to offer you recollections of the late George Plimpton was to link to The Daily Beast.That long profile in Rolling Stone of DFW by David Lipsky that everyone's been talking about is now online.Venerable fishwrap The Christian Science Monitor goes online only with its daily edition.Ten of the best circadian novels: "novels that fit all their action into a single day."Sarah Palin and code-switchingWe may never tire of "This Is Just to Say" parodies.Our revels, not quite ended?: Royal Shakespeareans read celebrity porno dialogue (headphones recommended for those at work).Half a year late, Russia! Magazine has made its translation guide to Russian literature available online.Over at More Intelligent Life, you can find an audio interview with a Booker Prize judge.Finally, MiL's parent publication, The Economist makes its endorsement.
New this week: The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon; A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson; The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato; The Love Object by Edna O’Brien; The New World by Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz; Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes; Paris, He Said by Christine Sneed; Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley; and Scavenger Loop by David Baker. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.