At the Kenyon Review, Frances Cha discusses the process behind writing her book If I Had Your Face, as she navigated two languages and audiences. “I do feel as if I am writing in translation,” Cha says, “but it is not a removed experience—even if I am speaking Korean in Korea, my thoughts are a mix of both languages, and so it doesn’t make much of a difference that I am writing in a different language from what I was speaking earlier . . . in the editing process I did take out quite a few Korean words because I felt that it took the non-Korean reader out of the suspension of disbelief, but in the writing of it, I wrote for myself and people like me.”
“Well, continuing with my policy of baring my soul, Dwight Garner said something like, the book was like one of those satellite photos of North Korea when I talked about the second marriage. I obviously had very little access to Updike from ‘77 on, really. And I cheated a bit by using Ian McEwan as my spy in the Updike household. First of all, Updike definitely did pull up the drawbridge and retire into his castle and I thought, in a sense, that this should be respected. He had decided on his persona, at that point—the highly professional man of letters. And I thought, why not let him go out with that persona intact?” At The Awl, Elon Green talks with Adam Begley about his new biography of John Updike.
The term “regionalism” doesn’t have quite the lustre for poets that it does for fiction writers, yet poets undeniably reflect their roots in their work. In an essay, Sandra Beasley makes the case for embracing regionalism in the poetry world, citing Claudia Emerson as a model for profitably committing yourself to one place.
Another phone-related book project: Call Me Ishmael, a site that collects stories about reading and life via voicemail messages. The instructions are simple: call Ishmael at 774-325-0503 and leave him a message “about a book you love and a story you have lived.” Several of these messages are transcribed and posted online every week but, if we’re being honest, we appreciate this project for the pun as much as for the stories.
And the Heart Says Whatever author Emily Gould has been combining two of our favorite things, books and food in an online cooking show called “Cooking the Books.” Past episodes have included Sam Lipsyte (cooking pork buns) and Joanna Smith Rakoff (cooking brunch).
“If you remember the sixties, then you weren’t really there.” We’ve all heard the saying, but in case you actually forgot what the sixties were like, I have good news for you. The complete archive of Oz Magazine, sometimes called the most controversial magazine of the sixties, is available for download over at Open Culture. Oz regularly featured work by such artists as R. Crumb, Germaine Greer, and many more.