The Paris Review once referred to Roberto Calasso as “a literary institution of one.” Calasso stopped by The New York Times to answer a few questions about publication and Italy in anticipation of his forthcoming memoir, The Art of the Publisher.
Important Indiegogo Alert: Kenneth James is editing the personal journals of novelist and critic Samuel R. Delany in a five-volume series. The first volume is complete, and James is asking for a bit of help to complete the second. Neil Gaiman has offered substantial monetary support.
Recommended Reading: Michael J. Avogino‘s “Total Utter Madness: A Story of Soccer” from the Tin House archives. If you’re going to watch soccer all day, might as well throw some good writing in there too, right? An example: “Life would go on, as would the sport of soccer and all that came with it: the brotherhood, the ethnocentricity, the sportsmanship, the nationalism, the love, the regionalism, the racism, class conflict, the sublime, the nonsensical, amongst white, black, brown, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jew, everyone guilty and innocent.”
Our friends at More Intelligent Life tot up the most common titles found on New York’s street-corner book stalls.
“All over the country research libraries are canceling subscriptions to academic journals,” notes Robert Darnton, “because they are caught between decreasing budgets and increasing costs. The logic of the bottom line is inescapable, but there is a higher logic that deserves consideration—namely, that the public should have access to knowledge produced with public funds.”
Last week, I pointed readers to a recording of Benedict Cumberbatch on BBC Radio, reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Over at Slate, Rebecca Schuman explains why Cumberbatch is the story’s ideal reader, unpacking his “withering, perfectly enunciated deadpan.”
“It can be difficult to talk about Uzbek without soaring into Orientalist flights. ‘O warbling beauty of the steppe!’ I started to write, like a 19th-century lady traveler.” Our own Lydia Kiesling is in the New York Times writing about studying Uzbek and speaking Turkish.
Jessica Love writes for The American Scholar about some recent psychological studies on the art and perspective of storytelling. Of particular interest is the way “the first person does seem to encourage us to identify with the narrator, especially when that narrator is a lot like us.” Not that identifying with narrators is the primary purpose of reading, as the New Yorker reminds us in a piece against “relatability,” but it’s something to consider the next time you pick up a novel and find a character who seems to be just like you.
Instead of capitalizing on his newfound momentum by hitting the campaign trail hard, Herman Cain this week opted to spend most of his time promoting his book, This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House, which just arrived in retail stores this week.