“In addition to fearing, as a young person, that I lacked sophistication, I also feared that I lacked courage. It was hard for me to say something even mildly tough about someone else or their work; hard for me, generally, to be critical. Mary McCarthy had no such trouble.” Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings, writes about her literary idol for the LA Times.
David Risher founded the nonprofit Worldreader program in 2009 to distribute Kindles to children in the developing world. His aim was to increase literacy. Today the program has shared over 200,000 e-books with children in Ghana and Kenya, and Risher and his colleagues hope to allocate 10,000 reading devices by 2013.
Chad Post ran the numbers to calculate “the state of literature in translation today,” and in so doing he found that AmazonCrossing has been publishing more works of fiction and poetry in translation than any other press except Dalkey Archive. Additionally, the “overall number of works of fiction in translation being published in the U.S. is growing pretty nicely.” To get a full account of what’s coming out this year, check out his 2013 Translation Database.
Need a dose of new Irish poetry in your life? The Irish Times (naturally) has you covered. In the Saturday edition, John McAuliffe reviews two new and notable collections: The Boys of Bluehill by Eilean Ni Chuilleanain and The Days of Surprise by Paul Durcan.
For Angelenos: Elif Batuman will be reading from The Possessed tonight at 7:00 at the LAPL Central Library. A conversation with LA Times Books Editor David Ulin follows the reading. More information and reservations here (tickets are free).
“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.