“A wealthy and influential harridan disapproves of you and makes sure everyone within earshot knows it. You don’t give a fig what she thinks. You flutter your fan defiantly.” How to tell if you’re in a regency romance novel.
Is readability a myth? In an article for The Atlantic Noah Berlatsky argues that there are no "easy" or "difficult" books, or rather that these are relative terms - a book that gives one person fits may be light reading for someone else. His argument pairs interestingly with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson's "Difficult Books" series.
The New York Times is reporting that the poet John Ashbery has died. A major figure in American letters, Ashbery won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in a single year for his book Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. The full Times obituary has more.
Congratulations to the five young writers named to the inaugural class of the National Student Poets Program. Louisa Banchoff (17), Miles Hewitt (17), Claire Lee (16), Natalie Richardson (17) and Lylia Younes (17) were appointed by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and they will serve as “literary ambassadors” for the next year.
Since they got married and began working 33 years ago, Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear have translated around 30 works of Russian literature, from The Brothers Karamazov to Doctor Zhivago. Now their interview with the Paris Review is available online from the Literary Hub, and this seems as good a time as ever to bring up that constant debate: who's greater, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky?
Let’s take a moment to be jealous of other countries, shall we? In Iceland, “one in ten [residents] will publish something in their lifetime.” Norway’s government “buys 1,000 copies of every book a Norwegian author publishes. It provides a $19,000 annual subsidy to every author.” In Argentina, “the city of Buenos Aires now gives pensions to published writers.”
Bookish men of New York. Are you listening? Good. On February 13th, Housing Works is hosting a “Literary Speed Dating” event... except they currently have a slight problem. There are literally too many women signed up for the event. If this isn’t enticing enough for you to buy a ticket immediately, perhaps a $4 discount will be. Simply enter the event code “TOLSTOY” when you buy online – or visit this link directly. Now, hurry. Think of which book you’ll bring with you. You know, the one you’re “just kinda, like, reading for fun at the moment.”