The January issue of Asymptote is out, featuring an excellent interview with Year in Reading alumnus Junot Díaz about language acquisition and diasporic identity. As he puts it, “I live a life where both English and Spanish are in italics in my brain. It costs me no extra effort; it doesn’t feel unusual; it doesn’t feel like an infirmity, but it does strike me every now and then that there are people who don’t pick over their language the way I do, who aren’t so self-conscious of what they’re saying, who have a natural tongue.” Pair with Thea Lim’s Millions essay on race and gender in Díaz’s books.
After some initial mystery leading up to publication, Michael Lewis’s new book Flash Boys is here and its subject is high-speed trading (sometimes called “high-frequency trading) that uses supercomputers and complex trading algorithms to attempt to generate profits through brute force. Lewis has become the most popular writer on Wall Street, giving readers a look behind closed doors. The Times has an excerpt of Flash Boys, while Bloomberg has more detail.
Daniel Hahn reminds us that translators are vastly under appreciated. To help combat this, he created the TA First Translation prize, an award that will go to a translator for a book’s English-language debut. “There are many prizes in the book world, perhaps too many. But some exist not merely to reward one individual per year, but also to make a statement about what should be valued, and what we need more of. “
When somebody you’re talking to brings up a writer — say Richard Russo — that you haven’t read, but should have, you probably say you haven’t read them because you “just don’t where to start.” Unfortunately, the folks at Book Riot just published a book, Start Here, that might blow up your excuse.