It’s bye week over at Football Book Club. And while there’s no new book to read this week — everybody’s resting up, licking their wounds, and sticking pins in Jay Cutler voodoo dolls — you, gentle reader, should be sure to check in for new posts on Louisa Hall’s Speak — and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts.
“I didn’t really understand what reading was for. If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions—lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible—then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself, so that it hardly seemed to me that she was reading it out of a book at all; it was something she had created herself, out of thin air… But one summer I had the whooping-cough, and afterwards I could not go swimming or jump off the beams in the barn or boss my little brother, because by that time he had the whooping-cough himself. My grandmother was off somewhere, visiting other cousins. So I swung on my swing until I got dizzy, and then for no reason in particular I took the Child’s History out of the bookcase in the front room, and sat down on the floor and started to read.” Alice Munro writes about A Child’s History of England, the first book she ever read.
Amidst the tragic news that Iain Banks has cancer, The Telegraph responds with a headline for the ages: “Iain Banks taught me that books can be a hand grenade“
World Book Night is scheduled for this Tuesday, and 25,000 volunteers will gather to distribute free books to “light and non-readers across America.” Last year, our own Edan Lepucki participated in the event and wrote about it for our site. However this year, if you’d like to participate on your own, you can enter the organization’s book giveaway to receive “5 free WBN editions to share with others.” Get out there and spread some literary love.
Words Without Borders has interviewed the writers and translators of Man Booker International Prize finalists Man Tiger, A General Theory of Oblivion, The Vegetarian, and more. Pair with this Millions review of The Vegetarian, a “dark and cynical” novel.
In her “Classic Russian Writers: For Teh Internets” column at McSweeney’s, KA Semënova “updates classics of Russian literature with modern technologies to see if the insights of those writers hold up today.” Her first two pieces explore Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog” and Vsevolod M. Garshin’s “The Signal.”