Matthew Jakubowski writes an experimental review of the first English translation of Mercè Rodoreda’s final novel, War, So Much War. Pair with this excerpt from the novel, which appeared in the new issue of Harper’s.
“Ageists who want to fault millennials for the continual decline in literary reading are wrong to do so. Across the board, there wasn’t much considerable variation in the amount literature age groups read. Everyone is hanging out in the 39–49% range.” Is America in the midst of a literary recession? According to the National Endowment for the Arts, 2015 marked the first year in 33 cycles of research that the percentage of adults who read literature had dropped below 45% to a dismal 43%.
“Time goes all stretchy in the Twittersphere, just as it does in those folk songs in which the hero spends a night with the queen of the faeries and then returns to find that 100 years have passed and all his friends are dead…” Margaret Atwood talks Twitter with Robert McCrum.
At The Chronicle of Higher Education: A breathtakingly ballsy piece by an anonymous professional writer of academic papers — friend to non-native speakers, the rich and lazy, and the hopelessly dim. Whatever your professor wants, he delivers (for a fee, of course). This Ed Dante might remind you of Vitaly Borker, the charmingly unapologetic (and equally ballsy) thug internet retailer profiled by David Segal in the NYTimes a few weeks back.
Still deciding what to do this Friday night? Watch PBS’s new documentary on Alice Walker, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, at 9 p.m. EST. At The Daily Beast, Agunda Okeyo discusses the history of the film’s production, which took six years. “Stories about women of color told by women of color are sidelined and neglected in favor of our stories being told by white women and men,” director Pratibha Parmar says.
Over at Full Stop, Scott Cheshire mulls the concept of Armageddon, or, as he calls it, “The Other American Dream.” Meanwhile, a French photography team is traveling the world to take pictures of cities “without signs of life.” Perhaps the fascination isn’t so American after all.
Much linked elsewhere, Triple Canopy has published the first complete English translation of the Roberto Bolano’s 1999 speech accepting the Romulo Gallegos Prize.Keith Gessen of n+1 and All the Sad Young Literary Men has started a blog. People who like to make grand pronouncements about such things and/or snark about them are all aflutter. (via)Onward in snark, Tao Lin describes the “Levels of Greatness” for the American novelist. Spoiler alert: Philip Roth wins again. (via)Robert McCrum chronicles his ten years as The Observer’s literary editor in ten chapters, from “Chapter 1: New Blood: Zadie Smith” to “Chapter 10: The Kindle.”