The 2014 National Book Awards were just announced earlier this week. In celebration, The Paris Review took a look back at the American Book Awards, which “serve as a reminder that ostensibly prestigious institutions—institutions whose authority and taste depend on their perceived stability—are just as susceptible to whims and trends as the rest of us, which is to say very.”
"When I have an idea that will later, sadly, become a story or a poem, I have a sensation of receiving something. But I do not know if that “something” is given to me by something or someone or if it bursts out on its own." An excerpt from Borges's conversations with the Argentinian poet and essayist Osvaldo Ferrari on writing, memory, and God is now available on The New York Review of Books blog.
“Four years after first announcing the decision to open the prize to Americans, the Booker is virtually indistinguishable from its competitors. It is exactly what many feared it would become: corporate and daft.” Alex Shephard writing for The New Republic about why the Man Booker Prize isn't interesting anymore. Still, should you want to know who's shortlisted this year, here's our roundup.
For everyone who harbors a deep and mildly-embarrassed love for GIFs in the significant, non-linguistic part of their brains that finds repeated facial expressions far more memorable than words: Ploughshares' series on classic novels (1984, The Catcher in the Rye, The Scarlet Letter, The Hobbit) will have you laughing and building your cocktail-party knowledge all at once.
Chances are that Hemingway is the only writer who comes to mind when you think of Spanish bullfighting. Well, clear some space in your mental sphere, because A.L. Kennedy wrote another entry in the bullfighting canon. On the Ploughshares blog, Miles Wray takes a look at Kennedy’s 2001 On Bullfighting.
Amazon announced a new crop of digital reading devices today - bringing their lineup to seven in total. The new $119 Kindle Paperwhite features an "ambient light" display, an eight-week battery life, and adjustable fonts; the 3G version will retail for $179. A new Kindle Fire HD starts at $199 -- and one with an 8.9" display starts at $299. Meanwhile the standard Kindle has dropped in price to $69, and the standard Kindle Fire is down to $159. Additionally, Jeff Bezos announced the debut of a new $1.99 Kindle Serials program: customers can buy a serial once, and seamlessly receive all future installments as they come out. The full rundown of announcements (including this mind-blowing chart) can be found on The Verge's liveblog.
Sometimes, Virginia Woolf took a break from her busy schedule of constant brilliance in order to write children's stories for her nephews' newspaper, The Charleston Bulletin. A taste: "When in a good and merry mood Trisy would seize a dozen eggs, and a bucket of flour, coerce a cow to milk itself, and then mixing the ingredients toss them 20 times high up over the skyline, and catch them as they fell in dozens and dozens and dozens of pancakes."