Also in today’s N.Y. Times is a story about the newspaper reporter Xu Lai, who was stabbed at a recent reading:
Mr. Xu was accosted in a restroom by two men who stabbed him in the stomach and then threatened to cut off his hand before fleeing, according to the friends and fellow bloggers who posted the news on the Internet.
Xiao Sanlang, who edits Mr. Xu’s articles at The Beijing News, said the men had announced that they were “here to take revenge.” He said Mr. Xu remained in the hospital on Sunday, but his wounds were not life-threatening. “We still don’t know why it happened,” he said.
Xu Lai has written critically of the Chinese government for his online columns, and this attack has some people worried about a “growing intolerance of dissent.”
A side-observation about this attack is just how twenty-first century the coverage is:
After Mr. Xu’s stabbing, several audience members chased his attackers into the street, snapping pictures with their cellphones as they ran, but the two men escaped. [. . .]
Word of the attack quickly spread by text message and the Twitter messaging service, and several newspapers and Web sites carried the news on Sunday.
For those of you in New York, the lineup for the 2007-8 92nd Street Y reading series has been announced:
Among the writers scheduled to appear are Derek Walcott, the Nobel Prize-winning West Indian poet, on Sept. 17, and the Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat and the South African novelist Zakes Mda on Sept. 20. (Ms. Danticat will read from her new memoir, “Brother, I’m Dying.”) Mario Vargas Llosa is to appear on Oct. 15, reading from his new novel, and the Polish poet and essayist Adam Zagajewski on Dec. 6. On Jan. 7 the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will read, along with Dave Eggers. (After the reading, they will talk with the Sudanese civil war refugee Valentino Achak Deng, on whom Mr. Eggers based his latest fictionalized biography, “What Is the What.”) Roddy Doyle, from Ireland, and A. L. Kennedy, from Scotland, will read on Jan. 23; the Turkish novelist Elif Shafak reads from her latest novel, “The Bastard of Istanbul,” on Feb. 11. Andrew Motion, the poet laureate of Britain, will appear on April 7, and the Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz, from Hungary, will share the stage with the pianist Andras Schiff on April 17. The full schedule of readings is available at 92y.org.
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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. . .
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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. . .