Nabokov once described himself “as American as April in Arizona,” which is an odd thing to call yourself when you’re a lepidopterist Russian expat. In Nabokov in America, Robert Roper explores why Nabokov felt he was so American, and how his journey to that identity influenced his writing of Lolita. At The Literary Review, Ian Sansom reviews Roper’s book.
John Sunyer checks in with Franco Moretti at the Stanford Literary Lab. Moretti, a 63-year-old professor of English, is the author of Distant Reading – a book in which he lays out his long-held belief that “literary study doesn’t require scholars to actually read the books.” Rather, he believes in a “new approach to literature [that] depends on computers to crunch ‘big data,’ or stores of massive amounts of information, to produce new insights.”
Lydia Davis is the recipient of the 2016 Hadada Award from The Paris Review, a lifetime-achievement award which is presented each year to “a distinguished member of the writing community who has made a strong and unique contribution to literature.” We brought you a bit on Davis just yesterday.
Year in Reading alum Jacqueline Woodson has been named the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Gene Luen Yang was the previous ambassador. The program is sponsored by the Library of Congress and the official ceremony is January 9th. Congratulations Jacqueline!
“I had seen enough movies to know that when a knife is tossed by the hero to someone in need, it lands exactly where it should. So I picked up the knife, and I centered myself. ‘Be the hero,’ I whispered.” Caroline Paul’s The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, “part memoir, part manifesto, part aspirational workbook,” encourages everyone to add a little more adventure to their lives. Angela Qian writes about the adventure of learning to read in another language.
This week in book-related infographics, round 2: Lapham’s Quarterly takes a look at the day jobs of famous authors, among them T.S. Eliot, who was responsible for processing reports on German debt, and Charlotte Bronte, who had laundry fees deducted from her pay. Pair with our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s essay on “Working the Double Shift” and “all the strangely varied occupations that a person accumulates when the primary objective is not to establish a career, per se, but just to pay the rent while they’re working on a novel.”