Recommended Reading: This review of Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir over at Slate. For a bit on Karr and some other Catholic writers with whom she is often associated, here’s an essay from The Millions.
For The New Yorker Alex Ross describes the role Nebraska’s prairies played in Willa Cather’s writing, his encounters with Cather people, and how he became one himself. “From this roughshod Europe of the mind, Cather also emerged with a complex understanding of American identity. Her symphonic landscapes are inflected with myriad accents, cultures, personal narratives—all stored away in a prodigious memory. “
The modern maestros of fantasy at Bethesda Softworks penned thousands of pages of text for the Elder Scrolls series, scattering 256 detail-packed, in-game books across 2006’s Oblivion, with a commensurate amount in 2002’s Morrowind. Presumably these tomes were consumed by the hardcore few. Did Bethesda spend countless hours of careful word-crafting for a fanatical minority?
The art of book translation becomes even more challenging when you translate a book that hasn’t been updated since the Cold War. At Asymptote, Jacek Dehnel discusses how much changed from Ariadna Demkowska’s 1962 translation of The Great Gatsby to his current work. “Demkowska was working under very different circumstances: behind the Iron Curtain and without access to Google. It was, therefore, more difficult for her to track down various details, such as those concerning well-known financiers or popular culture starlets of the 1920s.”
Last year, Millions staffer Bill Morris reported on a group of Elaine’s regulars seeking “ways to repay Elaine [Kaufman] for all the encouragement she gave to writers and other creative people” at her restaurant. What emerged was The Table 4 Writers Foundation, and this year the group is ready to award its latest batch of $2,500 grants to promising writers. The application deadline is October 20.