At Lit Hub, Jenny Zhang recounts the important books in her life, from the first book she loved to her favorite reread. On the books that have made her laugh out loud: “Pnin by Nabokov, the stories of Janet Frame and Grace Paley make me laugh. Tommy Pico and Morgan Parker’s poetry make me laugh. Tony Tulathimutte and Karan Mahajan’s fiction make me laugh. Qiu Miaojin and Kathy Acker and Paul Beatty make me laugh. I think more writers should try to be funny. Being dementedly funny is the hardest and most worthwhile thing to achieve in writing.”
“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.
We care quite a bit about book covers here at The Millions, hence our recent rounds of cover-judging. To honor the hundredth anniversary of Tolstoy’s death, Flavorwire has compiled a selection of Anna Karenina‘s many covers, and opportunities for judgement abound.
The more you know! In Victorian times, sitting for a photograph could last hours due to primitive camera technology and the need for long, long exposures. This, predictably, didn’t jibe with kids, and so parents had to adopt an ingenious workaround: disguising themselves in the picture so they could physically restrain the youngsters. (Don’t miss Part 2, either.)