“A quick scan of the literature shows that the writerly gaze has been most often turned on male artists and their creative processes and passions.” Claire V Mullins aims to redirect this gaze with a list for Electric Literature of 11 novels about female artists, including Zadie Smith‘s latest, Swing Time, which we reviewed last year. Related: Elizabeth Silver on the rise of strong female characters and the death of the literary ingénue.
“In 2007, five out of the 10 best selling novels in Japan were originally mobile phone novels,” reports Olivia Solon. (In 2008, we published a translated excerpt of one.) Now Movellas has emerged as a new platform for Keitai Shousetu, or literature designed for mobile devices.
The “David Mamet Appliance Center” has some predictably abrasive customer service representatives. Here is Peter McCleery for McSweeney’s imagining a hilarious and existentially hopeless exchange between customer and technician. The Millions has even more to satisfy your fictitious-Mamet fix: an imagined symposium with Mamet, Francine Prose, and James Wood among others.
“The Chinese people are on high alert that criticism of the government, independent thinking, and challenges to official narratives are dangerous.” PEN America has published “Writing on the Wall,” a report about the disappearance, late last year, of five Hong Kong booksellers. Only four of the five men have been released from Chinese custody.
Who’s ready for a trip to Tokyo? Sadie Stein at The Paris Review breaks the lid on a veritable Shangri-La for book lovers, a quasi-bunkhouse known as Book and Bed. Book and Bed is a bunkhouse-slash-bookstore that doesn’t actually sell books. Instead, they have a number of rather spartan beds built inside row after row of bookshelves. Their noble goal is also a simple one; to offer “an experience shared by everyone at least once: the blissful instant of falling asleep while reading.”
“Each one of those books is, like, several hundred pages long. So, that’s a lot of romantic anxiety and adolescent/young-adult/middle-aged angst to distill into pictures, but as far as I can tell, it’s all there: salted fish, shower-sex, alcohol-induced existential despair, the whole shebang! No reading required.” The Melville House blog, MobyLives, revisits the work of an anonymous artist who reenacted all of Karl Ove Knausgaard‘s My Struggle series using LEGOs. See also: our review of Knausgaard’s epic.
“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.