“Last week, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced that it had commissioned thirty-six playwrights to translate all of Shakespeare’s plays into modern English. The backlash began immediately.” The New Yorker on why we don’t change Shakespeare’s language. You could also check out our traditional and modern readings of Shakespeare.
Elena Ferrante’s introduction to the Folio edition of Sense and Sensibility is available at The Guardian. She describes the experience of reading Jane Austen as a girl. “At the time, I was enthralled by the great male adventure novels, with their stories that ranged all over the world, and I wanted to write such books myself: I couldn’t resign myself to the idea that women’s novels were domestic tales of love and marriage. I was past 20 when I returned to Austen. And from that moment not only did I love everything she had written but I was passionate about her anonymity.”
“Through such experiments, [he] seems preoccupied by the need to make this familiar form something different from what we think it is, so that it can more capably capture a reality that has fast been veering into the unreal. It’s not just that the world outside the novel has made this jump, but also that we cannot evade the world’s strangeness when the storytellers, and the characters into which they breathe life, increasingly come from such different perspectives.” On Year in Reading alum Chang-rae Lee’s new novel (which you can buy with a nifty 3D book cover).
You may have heard us mention Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading project recently. It’s a great new venture in which short stories are selected by other prominent writers — and it’s recently surpassed its fundraising goal. Now, they’ve even combined the project with one of their most beloved classics: Single Sentence Animation. Check out this little ditty to accompany Ben Marcus’s “Watching Mysteries With My Mother” and, of course, check out their Kickstarter page.
Jeff Bezos married a novelist, “expressed a passionate devotion to books”, and may be the one person mild-mannered indie bookshop owners hate more than any other. How’d that happen? After perusing a short history from the New York Review of Books, see for yourself with our vintage news announcements on Amazon’s innovations in pay-per-page pricing, now-old products like the Kindle, and its industry-changing acquisitions of The Washington Post and the English language.
A spate of notable literary homes have dotted high-end real estate recently. Earlier, The Telegraph reported that Bran Castle, whose famed fictional occupants include Count Dracula from the eponymous novel by Bram Stoker, is seeking offers. Yesterday, Ray Bradbury’s cheery 3-bedroom yellow house was listed at at $1.5 million. Sadly, the more-affordable $350,000 home of beloved children’s book writer Beverly Clearly was snapped up last week. Writers hoping to add to the stock of literature-imprinted real estate, take note: Detroit nonprofit Write A House, which renovates vacant homes and awards them to writers and poets free of charge, is accepting applications until June 21.
Why do great books we read as children have a more profound effect on us than great books we read as adults? It’s hard to say, but YA novelist Anne Cardi comes up with a number of reasons, among them the ability of children’s books to permanently change our viewpoints. (FYI, we asked a bunch of teenagers to recommend last year’s best YA novels.)