“I saw a novel with a mysterious-looking black woman on the cover. That was why I picked it up – because of the African woman on the cover of a book in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section. I read the first page and my eyes nearly popped out.” Book Riot has a killer roundup of posts in honor of Octavia Butler‘s birthday today, including five other sci-fi authors on being inspired by her writing (that’s Nnedi Okorafor above). Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.
The Telegraph catches up with John Simpson as he prepares to retire from his role as chief editor for the Oxford English Dictionary. “I used to keep a notebook in my pocket in case I came across new words,” Simpson says at one point. “That worked until I put my trousers in the washing machine.”
We tend to take it for granted that the world needs more translated works. The dictates of common wisdom state that reading translated works help us understand the reality of foreign cultures. But what if translation, which erases at least some nuance from works of literature, instead “sifts out the foreign or the unsettling in the name of easy consumption”? In The Irish Times, Michael Cronin reviews a recent book by NYU professor Emily Apter.
Does reading a novel for a few hours make you feel smarter? You’re not alone: a new study suggests that reading novels heightens activity in the left temporal cortex, also known as the part of the brain associated with receptivity to language. The best part? The changes last for five days.
Out this week: Autonomous by Annalee Newitz; Sun in Days by Meghan O’Rourke; The Good People by Hannah Kent; The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery; and The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
“I’m a writer through and through, but the art world—to a large extent—provides the arena in which literature can be vigorously addressed, transformed, and expanded.” Frederic Tuten interviews Tom McCarthy about the overlap between the visual arts and literature, the importance of reading, and living, voraciously, and the power of Finnegans Wake for BOMB Magazine. Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone‘s review of BOMB: The Author Interviews.