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.
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. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .