What kind of writer would Jane Austen have been if she’d lived beyond her forties? We can never know, but Freya Johnston has some ideas.
“Publishers, writers, and readers alike really need to sit down and take this trend [the rise of self-publishing] seriously, rather than using the poetry.coms and AuthorHouses of the world as straw-men, scapegoats, piñatas, or other bludgeonable what-have-yous in the same tired and ineffectual arguments about how the Internet is ruining the publishing industry.”
An interview with the author David Bajo, on his new novel Panopticon: “I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of privacy, especially how our society constantly seeks ways to invade it technologically, how we consistently undermine it by happily participating in digital omniscience, yet how we are outraged by the pain that technology and that desire sometimes cause.”
Year in Reading alumna and New York Times Book Review editor Parul Sehgal writes about her childhood reading habits. Millions readers should take a keen interest in this write-up for a couple reasons: 1) it’s awesome; and 2) the other half of her “we” is our associate editor, Ujala Sehgal.
“I have the impression that the shelves of new releases in US bookstores are becoming more globalized. They’re still not as international as those in bookstores in Rome or Paris or Mexico City or Buenos Aires, where there is a much higher percentage of books in translation. But I think works in translation are becoming much more visible.” Mexican author Álvaro Enrigue contends that trends in publishing mean we’ll enjoy ever-increasing bounties of translated work. See also: translator Alison Anderson on “Ferrante Fever” and what a great translation adds to the original work.
“Would I have carried myself with the same swagger, or faced adversity with such feminine resolve, without Albertine as my guide?…I was drawn to a striking, remote face—rendered violet on black—on a dust jacket proclaiming its author ‘a female Genet.’ It cost 99 cents, the price of a grilled cheese and coffee at the Waverly Diner, just across Sixth Avenue. I had a dollar and a subway token, but after reading the first few lines I was smitten—one hunger trumped another and I bought the book.” Patti Smith introduces Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin, recently rereleased by New Directions.
The deadline for DIAGRAM’s annual essay contest is fast approaching. Past winners include Peter Jay Shippy’s “Goonies: or Wallace Stevens’s ‘The Snowman’–an Essay in 7 Films” and (my all-time favorite) Cheyenne Nimes’s “SECTION 404 OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THE SANTA CRUZ RIVER SAND SHARK, SUBTITLED ‘THIS TROUBLESOME REGULATORY CONSTRAINT’.”