It's easy to forget that traders and travelers a millennium ago were as tongue-tied in foreign countries as college backpackers are today. How convenient for Silk Road travels, then, to have had a phrasebook translating between languages like Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese.
Some seriously deranged Amazon customer reviews. (via Doc Searls)A year ago "Our Lady of the Underpass" was a Chicago phenomenon. Eric Zorn revisits.Chimney sweeps and flower pots are the stuff of poetry for Sam.Dale Peck's recent judgment in the Tournament of Books is scarcely worth mentioning, but I did very much enjoy Kevin Guilfoile's commentary on the topic as well as his tale about meeting Ken Kesey.Kakutani's reign of terror turns 25.The Literary Saloon points us to Jonathan Franzen's new book. It's a memoir, and like Ed, I am disappointed by that.The Rake chats with Charles D'Ambrosio
Believing that high quality TV dramas have supplanted silver screen blockbusters, and now rival novels as "the best way of widely communicating ideas and stories," Salman Rushdie is set to pen a science fiction series for Showtime. The show will be called "The Next People." Yet while he's cited "The Wire" as a source of inspiration, the novelist also backhandedly referred to it as "just a police series." (A stance he defended on Twitter.) Controversial? Perhaps. But still nothing compared to him calling "Game of Thrones" "very addictive garbage." Later on, when asked by Vulture to list some of his favorite TV shows, Rushdie curiously counted "Entourage" among them.
The New York Times Magazine profiles Emily Wilson, the first woman to translate the Odyssey into English. Her translation is one of our most eagerly anticipated for November. "One way of talking about Wilson’s translation of the “Odyssey” is to say that it makes a sustained campaign against that species of scholarly shortsightedness: finding equivalents in English that allow the terms she is choosing to do the same work as the original words, even if the English words are not, according to a Greek lexicon, 'correct.'"