At Lit Hub, Sara Wheeler shares an excerpt from her book, Mud and Stars, focusing on Constance Garnett, an “indefatigable worker” who translated the works of Dostoevsky and Chekhov. As she brought these writers further into the English mainstream, the translator gained her fair share of admirers. “Garnett made Dostoyevsky a household name, and he did the same for her. Ernest Hemingway was one of many who admired her Dostoyevskys, as well as her Tolstoys. ‘I remember,’ he told a friend, ‘how many times I tried to read War and Peace until I got the Constance Garnett translation.'”
“Acclaimed novelist Cormac McCarthy, 79, wowed Cabo beachgoers Wednesday after debuting his sizzling new summer physique in a light-blue Vilebrequin swimsuit that showed off at least 20 extra pounds of lean muscle.” (Bonus: Benjamin Percy thinks McCarthy may have written “the scariest passage in all of literature.”)
Year in Reading contributor Kevin Smokler’s new essay collection, Practical Classics, explores the benefits of revisiting the first books you read (even if you hated them). In fact, the difficult and excruciating books have a particular value. “Books aren’t all supposed to be our best friends,” says Smokler in a new Rumpus interview. “Sometimes they’re supposed to be that difficult friend who encourages us to do things that we don’t feel are rational or grown-up.”
A while back, our own Mark O’Connell argued that Flann O’Brien, in The Poor Mouth, was the funniest writer who ever lived. Now, in an essay, Erin Somersin says the title should go to Mordecai Richler instead. She writes about the Canadian author’s unique sense of humor in a piece for the Ploughshares blog.