Everyone is talking about Nobel Prize winning Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich. Allow Jonathon Sturgeon at Flavorwire to explain why he believes Alexievich’s victory is a step in the right direction for the Prize.
"How earnest, ironic, condescending, moralistic and simply funny a Tolstoy should the translator inhabit? Perhaps the only way to render Tolstoy’s variable voice is to continue producing ever-varying translations." Masha Gessen looks at the latest English translations of Anna Karenina and breaks down their nuances of word choice and accumulated meaning for The New York Times Book Review, and along the way she questions the novel's most famous line: just how alike are happy families? How can we know?
The New York Times interviewed Colum McCann about what and who he's reading, and if you're looking for a book recommendation this piece is full of them. For more from McCann, be sure to check out his Year in Reading, our review of his novel TransAtlantic, and this reading of his soccer poem.
At the Poetry Foundation’s website, Ruth Graham tackles a strangely ubiquitous question: how does a couple go about choosing a wedding poem? (For context, it helps to keep the following quote in mind: “the aesthetics of [a personal] wedding, at least for couples of a certain age and posture, are practically set in stone: indie pop music, mason jars, white Christmas lights, wildflowers.”)
Most institutions that become an essential part of a local culture build up a collection of curios over the years. They collect as much evidence as they can of their proximity to major events. At the New York Public Library, for example, you can find a letter opener whose handle is made from the paw of Charles Dickens’s dead cat. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)