At the Chicago Review of Books, Eric Nguyen discusses his new novel, Things We Lost to the Water, and how Vietnamese American literature processes the ongoing influence of colonialism, as seen in two of the book’s characters, Công and Ben. “Công’s narrative is parallel with Ben’s, who doesn’t exactly embrace communism, but he falls in love with a communist and falls into a gang of so-called communists,” Nguyen explains. “[Those] ironies of history are what I was trying to get at. I’m interested in how history haunts us, but we can take that haunting and make it our own. One can’t change history, but one learns to live with it.”
The contents of the Warburg Library suggest it was conceived in a fairy tale. As Adam Gopnik describes it, the shelves of the quirky London establishment include things like medieval astrology tomes and a section on “The Evil Eye.” Yet despite its notoriety, the University of London filed a lawsuit against it last year, as part of a move to incorporate the Warburg into its greater library. In the latest New Yorker, an essay on the controversial landmark.
Now this would be a strange way for an obscure book to become an overnight bestseller. Among The Smoking Gun’s photos of the Tiger Woods crash scene is a shot of a book called Get a Grip on Physics by John Gribbin lying amid the broken glass. Maybe brushing up on physics can help your golf game.
Your eyes do not deceive you, Rumpus readers — Margaret Atwood sat down for this week’s Sunday interview. She talks with Gina Frangello about her novel-in-excerpts, Positron, along with the art of responding to readers on Twitter. (You can also check out her piece for Year in Reading.)
Joan Didion and NPR uber-interviewer Terry Gross will be honored at the National Book Awards ceremony in November. Dideon won a National Book Award in 2005 for her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking.The National Library of Scotland flooded yesterday thanks to a faulty sprinkler system. It was a close call: “Some modern books and manuscripts suffered ‘surface’ water damage, but all of the ‘important, iconic’ books were saved.”Oops! A church in England sold some rare tomes for modest though still substantial sum to a book dealer, only to find, too late, that they are worth much, much more.
“In my adolescence people spoke of ‘café intellectuals,’ not with the respect due to a sect that transmits ideas within the cramped space of a table but with the contempt reserved for those who turn their backs on reality and take refuge in vain speculation.” Juan Villoro on the writing life in Mexico City’s cafés as part of the “Writing Life Around the World” series for Electric Literature.