28 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

If you read Three Percent often, then you’ve already heard of The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain. In case you’ve missed it, though, Wall is a collection of of stories and essays from over 30 writers (and nearly as many translators) “that witnessed the fall of the Iron Curtain firsthand with the impressions and reflections of those who grew up in its wake.” All of these written pieces are surrounded by more than 70 photos, original documents, and other images. (As you can see, Wall has a surprisingly accurate subtitle.)

Wall is also a significant book because it was tirelessly arranged and edited by the always-great Words without Borders, who have put together several excellent anthologies.

So, what’s new with Wall? Well:

-Over at the Wall in My Head blog there’s a newly posted excerpt from the book. This excerpt is part Paul Wilson’s fascinating essay “Tower of Song: How the Plastic People Helped Shape the Velvet Revolution.”

-Also, the Harvard Crimson has already run an early review.

-Finally, the books official pub. date is on Nov. 9 (the twenty-year anniversary of the wall of the Berlin Wall), but it’s freshly in from the printer, and it looks very cool.

28 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments



Our final Reading the World Conversation Series event of the fall is already upon us. Next week, four international writers and translators—all in residence at Ledig House International Writers Residency—are visiting the University of Rochester.

Here are all the details:

Nov. 5, 2009
6:00 p.m.
Gowen Room, Wilson Commons
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Ledig House International Writers Residency is one of the only residences of its type in the United States. Since its creation in 1992, Ledig House has hosted hundreds of writers and translators from roughly 50 countries around the world. The colony’s strong international emphasis reflects the spirit of cultural exchange that is part of Ledig’s enduring legacy.

At this event, Chad Post (Director of Open Letter at the University of Rochester) will lead a panel of writers and translators from around the world—all of whom are currently in residence at Ledig House. The panel will include readings and discussion from:

Kathrin Aehnlich (Germany): Her first novel, published 2007, became a bestseller in Germany.

Tom Dreyer (South Africa): His second novel received the Eugene Marais Prize. His third was shortlisted for the M-Net Prize.

Linda Gaboriau (Canada): She is an award-winning translator of Quebec’s most prominent playwrights.

Pravda Miteva (Bulgaria): She has worked as a literary translator since 1994, and owns a small publishing house.

(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

Facebook link.

28 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Our release of The Golden Calf by Ilf & Petrov is only a few weeks away, and Publishers Weekly has already run a splendid and starred review (and our first starred review in PW, at that):

A hilarious blend of absurdist, futurist and surrealist sensibilities, this new (and only complete) translation of Ilf and Petrov’s novel . . . is a highly animated tale of a con artist’s journey through the cities and hinterlands of Soviet Russia. . . . It’s an invigorating journey through innumerable paradoxes, dreams and burlesque routines, and though it’s intensely chaotic (at times to dizzying effect), this is a finely translated edition of a triumphant literary experiment.

Check out the full review (about halfway down the page), and, as always, you can pre-order the book now . . .

27 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

The video is now available of last week’s (and, dare we say, our best to date) Reading the World Conversation Series event with the internationally bestselling author Jorge Volpi and preeminent translator Alfred Mac Adam. Parts 1-3 are Jorge’s reading, and parts 4-8 are the questions/answers between Jorge, Alfred, and the audience.


Here’s the skinny on the event:
Oct. 20, 2009 – Jorge Volpi—author of international bestseller In Search of Klingsor, and a founder of the “Crack” group—reads from his latest novel, Season of Ash, and discusses the new generation of Mexican writers.

Season of Ash puts a human face on the earth-shaking events of the late twentieth century: the Chernobyl disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of Soviet communism and the rise of the Russian oligarchs, the cascading collapse of developing economies, and the near-miraculous scientific advances of the Human Genome Project. Praised throughout the world for his inventive story telling and stylistic ambition, Jorge Volpi has become one of the leading innovators of twenty-first-century world literature.

After reading from Season of Ash, Jorge Volpi is joined in conversation by Alfred Mac Adam—professor of Latin American literature at Barnard College-Columbia University since 1983 and translator of novels by Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, José Donoso, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Julio Cortázar, as well as Season of Ash.

(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

15 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Don’t forget that we’re still in the midst of our 2 for $22 deal.

Choose any 2 books for $22 flat, and you’re automatically entered to win a free subscription for a full year of Open Letter titles (or, if you’re already a subscriber, you could get your current subscription extended for an additional free year). That’s a potential of 12 books for $22, which has an original retail value of $$$.

15 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Video is now up from our Reading the World Conversation Series event with the acclaimed French-to-English translator Charlotte Mandell. It’s in seven parts, and there’s interesting stuff throughout—with parts 1-3 comprising the reading and parts 4-7 comprising the questions/answer portion (conducted with aplomb by our own senior editor, E.J. Van Lanen).

About the event:
Oct. 6 2009 – The French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation. Zone has already been called “The novel of the decade, if not of the century” (Christophe Claro). In short, it is a 517-page, one-sentence novel about a spy, a train ride, a briefcase, and the pervasive violence of the twentieth century.

Charlotte Mandell is one of the great French-to-English translators, and has translated such prominent works as: The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honoré de Balzac, The Book to Come by Maurice Blanchot, A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, Listening by Jean-Luc Nancy, and The Lemoine Affair by Marcel Proust.

(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

15 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Our second Reading the World event in Rochester, NY, is right around the corner, and it’s going to be a great one featuring internationally best-selling author Jorge Vopli and Spanish translator Alfred Mac Adam. One and all should come. Here are the details:

OCT. 20, 2009
6:30 p.m.
Plutzik Library (in Rush Rhees Library)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Jorge Volpi—author of international bestseller In Search of Klingsor, and a founder of the “Crack” group—reads from his latest novel, Season of Ash, and discusses the new generation of Mexican writers.

Alfred Mac Adam is the acclaimed Spanish translator of Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, among others.

Jorge Volpi’s new international bestseller Season of Ash puts a human face on the earth-shaking events of the late twentieth century: the Cher­nobyl disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of Soviet communism and the rise of the Russian oligarchs, the cascading collapse of developing economies, and the near-miraculous scientific advances of the Human Genome Project. Praised throughout the world for his inventive story­telling and stylistic am­bition, Jorge Volpi has become one of the leading innovators of twenty-first-century world literature.

After reading from Season of Ash, Jorge Volpi will be joined in conversation by Alfred Mac Adam—professor of Latin American literature at Barnard College-Columbia University since 1983 and translator of novels by Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, José Donoso, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Julio Cortázar, as well as Season of Ash.

(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

13 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Chad may be at the Frankfurt Book Fair all week—making it quieter over here—but you can still read all about it on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog. Chad and a handful of others are all contributing.

6 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

To all those in the Rochester area, don’t forget that—today at 5:00 p.m. at the University of Rochester—celebrated French translator Charlotte Mandell (Balzac, Flaubert, Proust, et al.) will be reading from her new translation of Zone by Mathias Énard (a 517-page, one-sentence novel, forthcoming from Open Letter) and talking about the art of translation.

Here’s the Facebook link.

Or just click on the flyer below to get all the primary details.

1 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

I know we just announced the new RTWCS events, but we’re already on the heels of the first one next week(!), featuring the incredible French translator Charlotte Mandell. Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend. Here’s all the info:

OCT. 6, 2009
5:00 p.m.
Sloan Auditorium (in Goergen Hall)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Charlotte Mandell—the French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others—reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation.

Zone has already been called “The novel of the decade, if not of the century” (Christophe Claro). In short, it is a 517-page, one-sentence novel about a spy, a train ride, a briefcase, and the pervasive violence of the twentieth century.

Charlotte Mandell is one of the great French-to-English translators, and has translated such prominent works as:

  • The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honoré de Balzac
  • The Book to Come by Maurice Blanchot
  • A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert
  • The Horla by Guy de Maupassant
  • Listening by Jean-Luc Nancy
  • The Lemoine Affair by Marcel Proust

(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

1 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

For all those in the Rochester area, here are the events we’ve scheduled for this fall’s Reading the World Conversation Series. More information on each individual event will be posted soon, but here is the rundown, so you can mark your calendars now.

These events are hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. All events are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.

OCT. 6, 2009
5:00 p.m.
Sloan Auditorium (in Goergen Hall)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Featuring: Charlotte Mandell

The French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation.

OCT. 20, 2009
6:30 p.m.
Plutzik Library (in Rush Rhees Library)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Featuring: Jorge Volpi and Alfred Mac Adam

The author of international bestseller In Search of Klingsor, and a founder of the “Crack” group, reads from his latest novel, Season of Ash, and discusses the new generation of Mexican writers with the acclaimed Spanish translator of Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, among others.
(Co-sponsored by Rare Books & Special Collections.)

Nov. 5, 2009
6:00 p.m.
Gowen Room (in Wilson Commons)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Featuring: International Writers in Residence at Ledig House

Ledig House is one of the only international writer residences in the U.S. This event features readings and discussion from Tom Dreyer (South Africa), Pravda Miteva (Bulgaria), Kathrin Aehnlich (Germany), and Linda Gaboriau (Canada).

(For additional info, contact nathan.furl at rochester.edu)

17 September 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

On the Wall in My Head blog, there’s a cool new post with a photo diary by Bill Martin that includes a host of pictures and captions from Berlin between 1987 and 1989 (when the Wall came down). Take a look.

(By the way, if you’re not already following it, the aforementioned blog is dedicated to the book The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain. The book is due on November 9—the 20th anniversary of the falling of the Wall. As a lead-up to this, the blog has been featuring additional material that we couldn’t fit in the book, extra content from the contributors, and other related materials.)

17 September 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Continuing our proud tradition (does two times equal a tradition?) of posting galley’s online so that anyone and everyone who’s interested may get a preview, you can now view the ARC of The Golden Calf by Ilf & Petrov.

This new translation of The Golden Calf—a true classic of Russian literature—marks the first time the complete text is available to English readers. Translated by Konstantin Gurevich & Helen Anderson, it’s based on the uncensored original, and it restores material missing from earlier English versions. It is also the funniest novel of the Soviet era.

The widget below will give you a slick, little (literally) preview, and you can also click through to view a full-sized version for a limited time. The book is scheduled for release in December, but, until then, you can always find out more (and pre-order any time . . .) via the Open Letter page right here.

28 August 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

You may (or may not) already be a member of the Open Letter group on Facebook (which is great), but we’re quickly migrating the fun(!) over to our Facebook fan page, where we’ll be able to better keep you up-to-date during your daily Facebooking, and (importantly) we can better hear back from you, give out free books, invite you to events, and etc.

So, whether or not you’re already part of the old group, take a second to click here, then click “Become a fan” (and thanks).

16 July 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

The terrific Archipelago Books —publisher of many wonderful literary translations, including Attila Bartis’s Tranquility, a 2009 Best Translated Book Award winner—is currently doing two things to which we’d like to direct your attention (and hopeful participation).

First and foremost, as a nonprofit, Archipelago needs your support to survive form year to year. Please consider participating in their current fundraiser.

What’s more, you can now subscribe to one or more seasons of their new releases.

16 June 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

What is home without
Plumtree’s Potted Meat?
Incomplete
With it an abode of bliss.

(Ulysses)

1 June 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

We want to graciously thank all of you for the overflowing response to our first $10 fundraising campaign. As we said at the beginning, these contributions truly add up to a very significant total. What’s more, the demonstration that there is a broad base of support for literature in translation is something that can’t be overestimated.

Although donations are always welcome, we are technically the final days of this drive. So, if you have a few dollars and two minutes, please think about clicking here to make a quick contribution before it’s over.

A $10 (or so) donation may not seem like a lot, but it all comes together to support Open Letter’s books, websites, and programs.

Again, thanks—sincerely—to all of you for your contributions to our very first fundraising effort, and, if you haven’t already, please consider joining in.

1 May 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

News This Morning on 13WHAM Rochester has, yet again, proven itself to be the news leader when it comes to local morning news shows that feature literature and international authors. If this seems familiar, that’s because it is.

This time, Chad went on with Mark Binelli (Author of Sacco & Vanzetti Must Die!, contributing editor to Rolling Stone, and friend of the Press). They discussed the PEN World Voices Festival, Mark’s writings in fiction and nonfiction, and our PEN-sponsored event last night featuring Jan Kjærstad (full video of the event will be posted a bit later).

Click the pic to watch the news clip.

1 May 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

In last last-minute switcheroo (sp?), Chad will be moderating-and-more at a PEN World Voices Festival event tonight in NYC.

Title: On the Edge – Writing in Post-Reunified Germany
When: Friday, May 1, 6–7:30 p.m.
Where: Deutsches Haus, 42 Washington Mews

You can get the full info here, but what that page doesn’t yet tell you is that this event now features Clemens Meyer and Chad (who will be playing the roles of moderator and special guest).

Why the change-up, you ask? Why, worries about swine flu, of course. But due to our extreme caution, this event is now the ONLY PLACE YOU WILL NOT CATCH SWINE FLU. And, seriously, it’s bound to be interesting and a lot of fun, too.

30 April 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

To all of you in the Rochester area, be sure to come to the University of Rochester Interfaith Chapel today at 6 p.m. for the newest installment of our ongoing Reading the World Conversation Series. This time we’re proud to bring to town Jan Kjærstad (an internationally renown author from Norway) and Mark Binelli (an American author and contributing editor to Rolling Stone). All the good info is here.

Also, to sweeten the deal, we’ll have an some excellent organ music at the top of the show, and food and drinks at the bottom. All of this, of course, is free.

We hope to see you there!

30 April 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Chad Post (who you may know as the guy who wrote all the words above and below this post) was recently interviewed by Nigel Beale for his literary podcast. It’s a candid 28 minutes—covering the state of literature in translation, the American publishing landscape, Open Letter, and etc.—so take a look.

(Also, you can check the rest of Nigel’s offerings here.)

27 March 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments [1]

This is the way the publishing world ends
This is the way the publishing world ends
This is the way the publishing world ends
Not with a bang but a Twitter.

24 March 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

To any of you who aren’t yet part of the Open Letter group on Facebook, take a second to join, won’t you? The group is on its way to becoming a much more active place with invites to upcoming events, info about new books and the publishing world, and probably a few contests for free stuff, too . . .

17 March 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

With our Politics of Translation event coming up next Monday, this seems like a good time to post the video of a different event that we hosted last fall.

As part of the Reading the World Conversation Series, this “Translators’ Roundtable” brought together four literary translators—who work in a variety of languages and genres—to discuss their experiences. The conversation explored a number of different topics, from how they got started as translators, to the obstacles of retranslating classic works, to translating film scripts during the writers’ strike, etc.

In attendance were Michael Emmerich, Edward Gauvin, Marian Schwartz, and Martha Tennent. There’s a lot of brilliant discussion here—one of my favorite points coming from Michael who makes a case to those who lean on the phrase “Lost in Translation” that it is, instead, and “100% gain.”


Translators’ Roundtable from Open Letter Books on Vimeo.

16 March 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments [1]

Next Monday (March 23), we’re hosting a roundtable discussion at the University of Rochester with several highly distinguished guests—and, also, Chad will be there. Here are the basics:

“The Politics of Translation: What Gets Translated and Why”
March 23, 5:00 P.M.
Plutzik Library
(in Special Collections at Rush Rhees Library)
University of Rochester

It’s sure to be a lively discussion on the forces and fortuities that bring (or stop) literary books into English translation. The panel will feature:
-Amanda Hopkinson, British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, translator of Diamela Eltit and others.
-Suzanne Jill Levine, University of California-Santa Barbara, author of The Subversive Scribe, translator of Manuel Puig and others.
-Kathleen McNerney, West Virginia University, editor of “Garden across the Border: Merce Rodoreda’s Fiction.”

And will be moderated by:
-Chad Post, director of Open Letter Books, the University of Rochester’s publishing imprint specializing in literary translations.

This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Humanities Project, University of Rochester Arts & Sciences, and Open Letter Books.

Click below for the PDF poster/invite.

10 December 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments

The french novel Zone by Mathias Énard has been receiving some early press for a few reasons.

1. We’re publishing it (with an English translation by Charlotte Mandell) in spring 2010.
2. It’s about 500 pages.
3. It’s about 1 sentence.

The Chicago Tribune just ran an article, including some helpful references to other long sentences with which you may be familiar. Within the article, Chad helpfully describes this incredible book:

Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester has purchased the rights to the book and expects to publish a translation by Charlotte Mandell in spring 2010, according to Chad Post, the press director.

But is the record-setter gibberish? Not at all, says Post.

“It’s told from inside this guy’s mind as he takes a train trip,” he says. “It has a lot of commas.”

Intrigued? Here’s a little excerpt.

16 October 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments [1]

Yesterday, the NPR news program Day to Day talked at some length about “The Best Foreign Books You’ve Never Heard Of”—a discussion spurred, like so many others, by Jean-Marie Gustave le Clezio’s recently awarded Nobel Prize for Literature and the general U.S. reaction of “Ba?”

So, Day to Day invited David Kipen—director of Literature and National Reading Initiatives at the National Endowment for the Arts—to discuss the premise:

If most Americans have never heard of this accomplished author of more than 30 novels, essays and story collections, perhaps it’s because there is so little emphasis on international books in the U.S. publishing world.

Kipen offered a list of some international lit starting points (such as Antonio Lobo Antunes and Carlos Fuentes), described the drought of literature in translation in America, and—at about four minutes in—he kindly recommends us (that is: Open Letter, Three Percent, and the University of Rochester) as the place to read and learn more about international literature in translation.

Go have a listen.

9 October 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments

As reported everywhere in the damn world, French novelist Jean Marie Gustave le Clézio has been awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature.

So says the Swedish Academy: “[He is an] author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.”

Of course, this year the Prize for Literature garnered some extra attention due to some comments from the Academy’s Horace Engdahl, suggesting that the U.S. is too culturally insular. Some people got a little peeved, to say the least.

Avoiding comment on le Clézio himself, I do enjoy that the award then went to a Frenchman. As we all know, there is nothing more patently anti-American than that.

9 October 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments

I’ll tell ya, it seems like forever since we posted a video of Chad. Luckily, Publishers Weekly has just published a lovely article-slash-interview with our director. It’s all about things like Open Letter, the books we publish, our websites (such as this one), and literature in translation. Also, there is an accompanying web video.

I especially enjoyed the article’s title: “The International Literature Evangelist.” Not only does Chad spread the good news (of sorts), but it seems like only yesterday that we were philistines.

9 October 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments [2]

This entry contains no video of our director, Chad Post. Since there is no video, you will not see him being interviewed on local news or for a major print publication. Also, in this entry, he will not be seen talking about Open Letter, the books we publish, our websites (such as this one), or literature in translation. There is no video of Chad here, I’m afraid.

2 September 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments [1]

If you’re not familiar with Talking Leaves, it’s a first-class bookstore in Buffalo, NY—and, incidentally, it’s Buffalo’s oldest independent bookstore.

Now, they’ve gotten even more first-classier because they’re the first store in which we’ve seen our inaugural release — Nobody’s Home by Dubravka Ugresic — on the shelves.

And here’s the picture to prove it.

2 September 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Apparently, someone is starting a Book Blogger Appreciation Week, September 15-19.

There are awards, too. Head over there and nominate Three Percent (and all your other favorite lit blogs), won’t you? You can nominate two blogs in each category, and with so many categories for potential nomination, here are a few that I’ve pulled out, seemingly, at random:
-Best Literary Fiction Blog
-Best Book/Publishing Industry Blog
-Best Design
-Best Name for a Blog
-Most Eclectic Taste

According to the site, nominations technically closed yesterday. This seems like a nice, little idea to support, though, and my guess is that it’s a pretty casual affair, so take a minute to give your favorite lit blogs a shout.

3 December 07 | N. J. Furl | Comments

AIGA announced the selections from its most recent 50 books/50 covers competition over the summer. Having missed that, though, the recent exhibition highlighting these books at the AIGA National Design Center offers a handy excuse to bring it up here.

It’s a well-known competition, but did you know it’s been running since 1923? Take a look at the winners and an almost endless plethora of other great time-wasting eye-candy (or “research” of you may like to rationalize it) in the AIGA Design Archives. If you’ve never visited, it’s a great place to destroy your afternoon.

27 August 07 | N. J. Furl | Comments [2]

Cover designs without titles. The Book Design Review brings note to this cover. Unfortunately, the book itself is not notable, but we’re a fan of this movement (seemingly, an all-in wet dream by the designer and a gutsy marketing move, to boot) that one can imagine must have a dickens of a time making it through the cover-by-committee processes.

Really, I don’t know if this qualifies as a “trend” or just a random occurrence. The other time I’ve seen this (and, perhaps, the best occurrence to date) is on Ecco’s supper sexy Collected Poems: 1956-1998 by Zbigniew Herbert (also, a Reading the World: 2007 selection, by the way). If anyone else has examples of this—new or old—please do comment . . .

27 August 07 | N. J. Furl | Comments

The Telegraph has finally said what we (read: I) all (read: me, again) knew to be true. Smoking bans kill literature—in this case, English lit. Overblown poppycock, you say? Bollox. Tongue-in-cheek, it may be, but read this and feel shame for the last time you selfishly complained that fear of inoperable cancer was ruining your Yorkshire pudding. Here’s a taste:

This attack on basic liberty, which was allowed through without any significant protest, might mark the end not merely of smoking, but of literature.

A little over the top? Perhaps. Or maybe is not nearly a little over the top enough1.

1 In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I am, indeed, a smoker; I romanticize death by consumption; I sternly believe that etc.; etc.; etc., . . .

17 August 07 | N. J. Furl | Comments

It’s not comprehensive. It’s debatable. It’s hardly adequate, really. Nevertheless, if you like font pornography, then this well-illustrated article/list of great typefaces should still be pretty masturbatory.

It’s difficult to tell if they are supposed to be ordered by rank (I hope not), alphabetically (I, certainly, hope not), or randomly (perhaps). Whichever it is, #1 is Helvetica, and I’m sure you remember Chad’s post earlier this week about the eponymous font and its forthcoming documentary.

17 August 07 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Who doesn’t enjoy reading through publisher’s new seasonal catalogues? Well, the Design Observer certainly doesn’t not like it. Read this and be reminded why these catalogues are about literature, design, and marketing. In this case, it also happens to be a bit self-serving, but the sentiment remains:

Other than browsing a bookstore’s shelves, there’s probably nothing better for this bookophile than browsing publisher’s catalogs—if only the books themselves took up as little space.

....
Fear: A Novel of World War I
Fear: A Novel of World War I by Gabriel Chevallier
Reviewed by Paul Doyle

One hundred years have passed since the start of World War I and it is difficult to believe that there are still novels, considered classics in their own countries, that have never been published in English. Perhaps it was the. . .

Read More >

Little Grey Lies
Little Grey Lies by Hédi Kaddour
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

In the London of Hédi Kaddour’s Little Grey Lies, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan, peace has settled, but the tensions, fears, and anger of the Great War remain, even if tucked away behind stories and lies. Directly ahead, as those. . .

Read More >

Autobiography of a Corpse
Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Reviewed by Simon Collinson

One of the greatest services—or disservices, depending on your viewpoint—Bertrand Russell ever performed for popular philosophy was humanizing its biggest thinkers in his History. No longer were they Platonic ideals, the clean-shaven exemplars of the kind of homely truisms that. . .

Read More >

A Musical Hell
A Musical Hell by Alejandra Pizarnik
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

The best way to review Alejandra Pizarnik’s slim collection, A Musical Hell, published by New Directions as part of their Poetry Pamphlet series, is to begin by stating that it is poetry with a capital P: serious, dense, and, some. . .

Read More >

Astragal
Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Upon completing Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal I was left to wonder why it ever fell from print. Aside from the location, Astragal could pass as the great American novel. Its edginess and rawness capture the angst and desires we all had. . .

Read More >

Live Bait
Live Bait by Fabio Genovesi
Reviewed by Megan Berkobien

When my eyes first crossed the back cover of Fabio Genovesi’s novel Live Bait, I was caught by a blurb nestled between accolades, a few words from a reviewer for La Repubblica stating that the novel was, however magically, “[b]eyond. . .

Read More >

The Skin
The Skin by Curzio Malaparte
Reviewed by Peter Biello

“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .

Read More >