Granta has published translated writing from Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich. She writes: “In 1986 I had decided not to write about war again. For a long time after I finished my book War’s Unwomanly Face I couldn’t bear to see a child with a bleeding nose. I suppose each of us has a measure of protection against pain; mine had been exhausted. Two events changed my mind.” Find out more about Alexievich here.
History's 10 best prison breaks.A Paid Content column argues that the true genius of the Kindle is that it breaks the trend toward multi-tasking......But there is still a huge amount of confusion surrounding the Kindle's DRM policies.AbeBooks aggregates some summer reading lists.VQR compiles a brief reading list for those following the post-election protests in Iran.Bay Area readers: Conversational Reading is taking a page from The Millions playbook and hosting a San Francisco indie bookstore walking tour. Sounds fun!
The possibility of a new André 3000 solo album (even if it’s “no sure thing”) is liable to make this writer giddy. Fun Fact: In a print-only interview with Oxford American, National Book Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward nominated Three Stacks as “the most underrated Southern writer.” (And she’s a fan of his collaborations with Frank Ocean, too.) You shouldn’t have needed an endorsement, but if you did, then that should be good enough for you.
A Mississippi school district has decided to pull Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird from its junior-high reading list because it "makes people uncomfortable." The novel, which frequently tops the American Library Association's "Frequently Challenged Book" list, tackles racism. See also: an essay on the symbolism of mockingbirds.
“As energy loss is an unavoidable fact of mechanics — no mechanism can be 100% efficient, and the best a designer can do is manage the loss as productively as possible — so translation loss is similarly unavoidable,” explains Mark Davie, who recently translated Galileo’s Selected Writings. But what if the “energy loss” isn’t a failure of the work’s translator so much as a failure of the organization commissioning (or failing to commission) the translation? What if, as is the case for much Arabic literature, “the process [of selecting works for translation] is based on a political consideration” that deprives Western readers of the best Arabic literary work?
Nabokov played (and frequently wrote about) chess; J.K. Rowling plays Minecraft, though it has yet to appear in any kind of Harry Potter spin-off. And why shouldn't she? After all, "there’s a long tradition of other authors turning to a variety of such games – mostly as light relief from their vocation, but also sometimes finding writerly inspiration."
"The concept that being American means, by definition, having an ideal that you’ve failed to live up to—that’s another crucial thing I learned from [James Alan] McPherson. It is not a rejection of America for Michelle Obama to note that her daughters are growing up in a house built by slaves. Or a rejection of a white writer to point out that Fitzgerald was a racist. Instead, it is American to admit those facts and to find in that admission a way forward." On American values, Barack Obama, and the legacy of James Alan McPherson over at The Literary Hub.