It’s that time of the week wherein I remind you about the hilarious series over at Electric Literature, “Ted Wilson Reviews the World.” This week, Ted tries his best to remain impartial while reviewing that one sneeze he had: “The sneeze I had came on so quickly I didn’t have time to put my hand over my face and the spray went everywhere. It made me wish I had been standing over a salad bar so there would have been a sneeze guard handy. That’s why if I’m about to sneeze at Olive Garden I immediately sprint for the salad bar.”
"How earnest, ironic, condescending, moralistic and simply funny a Tolstoy should the translator inhabit? Perhaps the only way to render Tolstoy’s variable voice is to continue producing ever-varying translations." Masha Gessen looks at the latest English translations of Anna Karenina and breaks down their nuances of word choice and accumulated meaning for The New York Times Book Review, and along the way she questions the novel's most famous line: just how alike are happy families? How can we know?
For years, Jang Jin Sung traveled within Kim Jong-il’s inner circle. As North Korea’s official poet laureate, he was tasked with “writing epic poems for [the] dictator … and overseeing inter-Korean espionage.” But in 2004, fearing a charge of treason, Sung fled the country, becoming one of the nation’s most high-profile defectors. Recently, Sung – who just published his memoir – spoke with Maclean's about his life, his escape, and literature.
This independent bookstore in Alabama has a novel concept–selling only signed copies of books. Alabama Booksmith is just one of many independent bookstores looking for new ways to survive in the world. This Millions interview with Janet Geddis, the founder of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga, is both hopeful and inspiring.
Over at The New York Times, Citizen author Claudia Rankine reviews Teju Cole’s new essay collection. As she puts it, “Cole attempts to untangle the knot of who or what belongs to us and to whom or what do we belong as artists, thinkers and, finally, human beings.” Pair with this Millions interview with Cole.