For Atlas Obscura, Tucker Leighty-Phillips writes on how a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook, introduced to English readers by Mark Twain, became a comedy sensation. Pair with this Millions piece on Twain’s travels.
Our own Emily St. John Mandel gives a glimpse of her life on the road. “I’d been on tour for so long that I had to take a picture of my hotel room door every time I checked into a new place, because otherwise I’d forget my room number,” she writes. For more of her writing, check out her Millions essay on the place where writers work.
“I took a ride (on an elephant); but it was by request—I did not ask for it, and didn’t want it; but I took it, because otherwise they would have thought I was afraid, which I was.” Mark Twain, the consummate American, travelled the world in style–despite having almost no money. Allow me to direct your attention to this complementary Millions piece on Twain and the art of travel writing.
“It’s fair to say Shakespeare is having a cultural moment in Asia, with a “boom” of new film adaptations and dramatic stagings,” and the Royal Shakespeare Company just received 1.5 million pounds to keep that boom going by translating all of the Bard’s plays into Mandarin. Melville House has the full story, and it pairs well with both this diagram of a translated book’s usual lifespan and this discussion of Shakespeare’s best plays.
“My whole life, I had used stories, both my own and other people’s, to check out of grocery store lines and long bus trips, stints in doctors’ waiting rooms, heartache, my own depression, and finally of the tedious exhaustion of new motherhood. Now, here I was in this 15-by-20 room, where monitors and alarms were constantly beeping, and there was no way out, except the unimaginable.” Alyson Foster, author of Heart Attack Watch, writes about her son’s illness and her love of reading.