My good and old friend Emre writes in with this somewhat obscure question that was nonetheless enjoyable to research.Have you read anything by Alex Grijelmo, and would you by any chance know of his La Seduccion de las Palabras and if it is translated to English yet?I have not read anything by Alex Grijelmo, and, in fact, I had not even heard of him until I received this email. But a little research revealed that he is the editor of El Pais, one of Spain's more popular newspapers. In fact, I remember seeing it all over Barcelona when I was there in 2003. Not only is Grijelmo an editor, he is also the author of El Pais' style guide. Now that I am a journalism student, I have quickly become acquainted with the notion of the "style guide." Such guides are essential for keeping the grammar, punctuation and usage consistent in a given publication, and many publications have their own in house versions. The New York Times has one, but the most popular is the AP Style Guide (I'm pretty much required to keep this one on my person at all times these days). But Grijelmo isn't just a grammar nut. He has also written books about language that go beyond the rules and regulations. For example, the title of the book you mention can be loosely translated as The Seduction of Words, and it appears as though Grijelmo, aside from being a well-known journalist, is something of a Spanish William Safire; that is, a writer who discusses language not just codifies it. Sadly, none of his books have been translated into English, and since his books seem to be about the Spanish language itself, it would seem unlikely that they could successfully be translated into English. If anyone else out there knows anything about Grijelmo, please comment, for Emre's sake!(Speaking of Safire, have a look at his op-ed about the government's no-holds-barred hunt for unnamed sources.)
"At first blush, bringing an eight-year-old to one of William Shakespeare’s quirkier plays in an effort to help her see herself, an Asian American girl, in popular culture did seem a rather odd decision." Nicole Chung for Hazlitt on The Winter's Tale, representation, and parenting in the age of Trump. And wouldn't you know it, we have a piece specifically about that very play – "three/fifths wintry tragedy, two/fifths vernal comedy, and wholly a masterwork" – right here.
“Always practice basic online etiquette, or 'netiquette.' Consider including emoticons to help add personality to your message and set the right tone. Also, be sure to stay on topic in a conversation and avoid writing in all caps, which is the online equivalent to shouting.” The Amazon Author Insights blog (full disclosure: Amazon helps us keep the lights on around here!) has a list of guidelines for authors looking to engage with their fans (and critics) on Goodreads. More recommended reading: our own Emily St. John Mandel on how to respond to your critics.
I am a bit shocked to realize 2014 was the year I loved everything I read. I review books with some frequency and this year I don’t think I gave a single book a negative review -- and not because I was feeling particularly giddy about art or life -- I simply had the strange fortune of liking what I read. Most all of the books I reviewed this year were books I requested to review and none really disappointed. My highest recommendation out of that group goes to Helen Oyeyemi’s startling and exquisite Boy, Snow, Bird (which will also always hold a special place in my heart for getting both of us on the cover of the NYTBR.) I can also recommend Chang-rae Lee’s stunningly mystifying On Such a Full Sea; Darcey Steinke’s charming, gorgeous Sister Golden Hair; William T. Vollmann’s relentlessly haunting Last Stories. These were books I was paid to read, but frankly would have read anyway. Out of the all the books I read for pleasure, the standout was Will Chancellor’s debut. He had the misfortune of becoming my friend or else I would have certainly tried to review A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall. This is what we writers call a BIG BOOK -- the ambition here is matched by the talent and Chancellor’s storytelling abilities place him with the best. You’ve go water polo, academia, art world, and myth playing out in locations that span across the globe from Palo Alto to Iceland. And, well, I’m a sucker for father-son epics and novels that at least partially and unabashedly deal in ideas. Speaking of ideas, two more, books that were unlike anything else: one came from a writer I know well and love wildly, the Chinese avant garde writer Can Xue and her second English-translated novel The Last Lover. I don’t know what to say -- it is as ever very hard to piece and probe and dissect and even just arrange in a line, but the pleasure for me of reading her is reading something truly surreal in our time, an era where so many books feel painfully, embarrassingly, appallingly safe. On the other side is someone I’d never read before: T.J. Clark. I’m lucky to know a lot of excellent art historians and a visit to a venerable Midwest art department resulted in my picking up and falling in love with this art historian's work. His The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing came out in 2006 and is simply a collection of personal, political, and philosophical musings and meditations on two Nicolas Poussin painting that were hanging in a room in the Getty in 2000. For several hundred pages, this diary where seemingly nothing happens cast a very strong spell over me, and I still don’t know how he did it. Maybe to some “Novel of Ideas” or “Books of Ideas” sound like critical and commercial death sentences, but they have always been my page-turners, and especially in 2014 and undoubtedly onward. May we not fear concepts, philosophies, themes in a time (all times?) when it feels like our survival depends on it. More from A Year in Reading 2014 Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: The Millions' Books and Reviews Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, and follow The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.