Recommended Reading: This essay by Jhumpa Lahiri on language and translation, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein. Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for her collection of stories The Interpreter of Maladies.
On Monday we mentioned that the MTA has started offering free e-books underground as part of its Subway Reads program, but they weren’t the first to make books an integral part of the public transit experience. London’s Books on the Underground was first, but then came a more interesting development in Australia: book ninjas. Books on the Rails is a gonzo experiment started by two Melbourne residents who began releasing free books – actual, paper books – into the wilds of the city’s tram system. About 300 books are currently in circulation in what’s possibly the world’s most open lending library.
You may not expect much from a write-up about The Smiths’ new collected box set, Complete, but that’s about to change. In a phenomenal piece on the relationship between racial (in particular Asian) otherness and the UK band’s music, Sukhdev Sandhu explains how Morrissey’s “lyrics and persona mapped out a structure of feeling that spoke to my own floundering selfhood.”
Canonical literature isn’t the only way to learn about America. The bestseller list can be equally as telling. Matthew Kahn is reading 100 years of No. 1 bestsellers from 1913 to 2013. He blogs about the books and discusses the project in an interview with Salon’s Laura Miller. When Miller asks what makes a bestseller, he claims, “A lot of it is just a matter of accessibility. A focus on plot and character rather than structure and the prose itself.”
Lena Dunham is the new voice of the Archie comics generation. The Girls creator will write four issues of the famous comic, coming out in 2015. She’s not the only woman joining the comics industry. DC Comics is adding a Native American teenage girl, inspired by the real Canadian Aboriginal teen activist Shannen Koostachin, to the Justice League United.