It’s always great to uncover (or be told about) great new literary blogs, and last week I found about a couple of really impressive ones.
The first is Salonica World Lit which bears the slogan “Exploit. Explore. Examine. A Blog Dedicated to International Literature.” This is done by Monica Carter of Skylight Books, and, as incorporated into the title, focuses on international lit.
Recently she’s written about Stefan Zweig Amok & Other Stories, about Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Rashomon and Mandarins, and about Barcelona crime writer Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett. All the posts are well crafted, and with Monica’s bookstore connection and curiousity about world lit, this promises to be a great place to find out about new authors.
(This is kind of geeky, but I really like how her blog roll works. Rather than simply listing a bunch of blogs, it lists the title of the most recent post on each blog and allows the reader to click through and explore the literary blog world in a more connected and intuitive way. I don’t know if this is a common feature now or not—but this is the first time I’ve ever seen it and I think it’s pretty cool.)
Another great addition to the blog world is Beyond Hall 8 a blog sponsored by the Frankfurt Book Fair and serving as “a platform for discussion about book publishing from an international perspective and for an international audience.” The mission of this blog is incredibly impressive and with Thomas Minkus and Hannah Johnson involved, it’s destined for greatness. The posts about “Lookybook” (a site that provides free “previews” of children’s picture books) and the Australian Book Market are both really interesting. As a bit of statistics geek myself, I really dig the post about the Australian book market, and the fact that there are a ton of indie presses publishing in Australian that were uncounted in the last report from the Australia Bureau of Statistics . . . Nevertheless, it still shocks me to find out that there were only 851 works of adult fiction published there last year.
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .