“It makes you think you are just about to write, for once, something brilliant.” Everyone knows that Moleskines don’t really affect your writing, but they nevertheless represent a kind of literary standard. As we step into the future and doodling goes digital, will products like electronic writing tablets put the leather-bound versions out of business? Somewhere Hemingway is turning in his grave.
The latest effort from superstar translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky: Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago is now on shelves. P & V's The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories is in our Hall of Fame, and we interviewed the couple last year. Also out: Mark Twain's long-embargoed Autobiography is now shipping; V.S. Naipaul's The Masque of Africa; X'ed Out by graphic novel master Charles Burns; Avi Steinburg's literary memoir Running the Books: Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian; and the odd literary project that is James Franco has a new collection out, Palo Alto
Recommended Reading: These fifteen short texts in search of Hilla Becher, photographer and life/artistic partner of Bernd Becher: "One of the creations of her and Bernd’s artistic partnership was the seemingly perfect fusion of their visions. 'No, there is no division of labor,' they told an interviewer in 1989, in a conversation that pointedly doesn’t designate which of them is speaking. 'Outsiders cannot tell who has taken a particular photo and we also often forget ourselves. It simply is not important.'"
Okay, so earlier this week I mentioned Emily Nussbaum's excellent profile of Lena Dunham for New York Magazine. Now Lorrie Moore's written one too, for The New Yorker blog. The short piece, as you might imagine, is a near perfect meeting of author and subject; who could be better at writing about Girls?
The Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas made headlines when it acquired the David Foster Wallace archives. Now it's added another high profile author to its collection: J. M. Coetzee.
Writing for Banned Books Month on the PEN American Center’s blog, our own Lydia Kiesling discusses Judy Blume’s Forever. It’s a book many have “lobbied vigorously to pry … out of the hands of enthralled youth since 1975,” Kiesling writes, which should prove that such lobbyists “weren’t very good readers” in the first place.
ICYMI Colin Kaepernick was named GQ's 2017 Citizen of the Year a few weeks ago. In light of this honor two of his closest friends "have compiled a list of 'Freedom Dream' resources spanning close to two centuries—including books, essays, films, documentaries, songs, and museums—that can help readers, viewers, and listeners to understand race as the central political, cultural, economic, social, and geographic organizing principle of our nation, past and present. For it is only when we acknowledge the centrality of race in dictating the outcomes of life and death in the United States can we begin to work toward meaningful forms of racial justice." Find the books, music and movies that helped inspire Kaepernick (and that will enlighten you too) here.