Tim Parks writes for the NYRB about writers living abroad. As he puts it, “But what about those writers who move to another country and do not change language, who continue to write in their mother tongue many years after it has ceased to be the language of daily conversation? Do the words they use grow arid and stiff? Or is there an advantage in being away from what is perhaps only the flavor of the day at home, the expressions invented today and gone tomorrow? Then, beyond specifically linguistic concerns, what audience do you write toward if you are no longer regularly speaking to people who use your language?” Pair with Hannah Gersen’s Millions piece on reading the English translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words.
You've probably heard the internet adage, "If it exists, there is a porn of it." Never has that been truer than in the case of the political erotica of 2016. From a particularly colorful Cruz/Rubio series: “'Who is this Hillary you’ve been texting?' Rubio asks Cruz. 'Saying things like ‘meet me when Marco’s not home,’ ‘I can hook you up,’ ‘what’s the price’ … don’t act all naïve right now!'"
At Full Stop, the editors interview Susan Bernofsky, who directs the literary translation program at Columbia and has published translations of works by Robert Walser, among other writers. She talks about German phrases that rarely appear in English, as well as the ethics of translating a work faithfully: “I think it’s the translator’s responsibility to be so attuned to the requirements of a given text (and the universe of the author) that these inevitable interventions are always appropriate and never arbitrary or willful,” she says. You could also read Tanya Paperny on the translator Michael Henry Heim.
J.K. Rowling is one of the most successful writers in the world, but the one person she wanted to see her success never got to — her mother. "She never knew about Harry Potter – I started writing it six months before she died, so that is painful. I wish she'd known," she said during an interview with BBC Radio 4. She discussed her mother's death, multiple sclerosis, rugby, and more when she guest edited an edition of "Woman's Hour."
Mark Twain first rose to fame as the author of an essay about a frog-jumping contest in California. Originally titled “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog,” the essay went viral in America’s biggest newspapers, eventually inspiring the New York Tribune to write of Twain that “no reputation was ever so rapidly won.” Yet the humor which made the essay so popular is often lost on modern audiences, in no small part because, as Ben Turnoff writes in Lapham’s Quarterly, frontier humor isn’t funny if there's no Wild West.
For every reader who grew up enamored with LeVar Burton's now-cancelled PBS show, Reading Rainbow, there's fresh hope. A Kickstarter campaign to create a spin-off, web-based version of Reading Rainbow that aims to spread literacy to children in under-served schools was launched yesterday and has already received a significant portion of its funding goal. While there are some concerns about the project, the nostalgia factor is incredibly strong, and who doesn't want to spread the love of reading to children?