At The Guardian, Jhumpa Lahiri recounts the path that led her to write her latest book in Italian, one of the most anticipated books of 2016. As she puts it, “A week after arriving [in Rome], I open my diary to describe our misadventures and I do something strange, unexpected. I write my diary in Italian. I do it almost automatically, spontaneously. I do it because when I take the pen in my hand I no longer hear English in my brain. During this period when everything confuses me, everything unsettles me, I change the language I write in.”
In "kids these days" news, any book now counts as a "novel." There are fiction novels and nonfiction novels, recipe novels and poetry novels and picture novels and, less facetiously, a new novel told in letters of recommendation, Julie Schumacher's Dear Committee Members. And now that you've finished my three-sentence nonfiction digital novel, here's the world's longest novel, which clocks in at 3 million pages that I confess I have not read.
This is supercool: Hyperallergic reports programmer Jamie Zawinski has created a digital rendering of the library of Babel from Jorge Luis Borges’s short story of the same name, which imagines an institution intended to house all potential books. You might also enjoy our 2013 piece about a discovered set of Borges lectures from a class the author taught in Argentina in 1966.
Two ways of looking at a book: "Had I been still more articulate, I might have said that there’s a special readerly pleasure in approaching a book as you would a box. In its self-containment lies its ferocious magic; you can see everything it holds, and yet its meagre, often hackneyed contents have a way of engineering fresh, refined, resourceful patterns. And Emily might have replied that she comes to a book as to a keyhole: you observe some of the characters’ movements, you hear a little of their dialogue, but then they step outside your limited purview. They have a reality that outreaches the borders of the page."
“I couldn’t tell if a poem I was writing would come to anything or not until the last line was there. That's always been my method. I may have revised less than some other poets, but I think I write as much crap as anyone.” Kaveh Akbar interviews Sharon Olds about inspiration, contemporary poetry, and rejection letters for Divedapper. Pair with this Millions piece, featuring seven editors looking back on their rejection styles.