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Two Month Review: #5.09: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Fox’s Widow”)

Ryan Chapman (Conversation Sparks, Riots I Have Known) came on this week to talk about the final section of Dubravka Ugresic's Fox. They discuss "business class vs. economy class" writers, authenticity and performing in the role of a writer, Franzen, the overall genius of Ugresic's writing, and much more. It's a very ...

Two Month Review: #5.08: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“Little Miss Footnote”)

Caitlin Luce Baker from University Bookstore in Seattle joined Chad and Brian to talk about the "Little Miss Footnote" section of Dubravka Ugresic's Fox. They touch on Dorothy Leuthold, Vladimir Nabokov, and much more, including a very subtle weaving of references that you'll definitely want to tune in to learn ...

Season Six of the Two Month Review is Coming and It’s Pessoa

We still have a few episodes left in the Fox season of the Two Month Review ("Part V" on 8/28 with Caitlin Luce Baker, "Part VI" on 9/4 with Ryan Chapman, and a wrap-up on 9/10 with Dubravka Ugresic herself), but it's never too early to start planning ahead for the next season . . . Starting on September 24th for YouTube ...

Two Month Review: #5.07: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Theocritus Adventure”)

This episode, Chad and Brian are joined by the newest Open Letter employee--Anthony Blake! He joins in on a really fun episode about Russian avant-garde literature, connections between the fourth part of Fox and the very earliest sections of the book, footnotes, invented novels, how to smuggle like a fox, and more. This ...

Two Month Review: #5.06: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Devil’s Garden”)

Pete Mitchell—who wrote this great review of Fox for Asymptote—joined Chad and Brian this week to talk about the heartbreaking (and semi-profane) ending to "The Devil's Garden," the third part of Dubrakva Ugresic's latest novel. From the idea of a small ping singling one's eventual crack-up to peeing on the side of the ...

Two Month Review: #5.05: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Devil’s Garden”)

In this week's Two Month Review, Brian drops some excellent knowledge about why this chapter is called "The Devil's Garden," opening a window into Ugresic's genius, guest George Carroll talks about his time in Kolkata, and Chad says a bunch of mildly entertaining things about camping and landmines. The most stunning moment ...

Two Month Review: #5.04: FOX by Ugresic (“A Balancing Art”)

After a two week hiatus due to technical difficulties trying to record from Dublin, the Two Month Review is back! Chad and Brian are joined by translator Ellen Elias-Bursać to talk about her favorite section of the novel--"A Balancing Art." They discuss the various viewpoints presented in this chapter--especially that of the ...

New Two Month Review Season Starts 6/11!

After a bit of a hiatus, we're back! Starting tonight (Monday, June 11th) at 9pm, Brian and I are going to tackle Dubravka Ugresic's latest novel--Fox. Here's what Kirkus Reviews had to say about it in their STARRED review: Another tricky treasure from an internationally renowned author. Ugresic has been in exile from ...

May Is a Month of Grading

The Best Translated Book Award Finalists were announced earlier this week, and following up on my earlier post looking at the representation of various languages on the BTBA longlists, I thought I'd take a second to highlight the publishing houses (#NameThePublisher) that have historically done the best on the BTBA ...

Two Month Review: #4.02: The Physics of Sorrow (Part I, Pgs 1-58)

Chad and Brian are joined by Tom Roberge of Riffraff (and the Three Percent Podcast) to discuss the first section of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. They talk about the book’s general conceit, the minotaur myth, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Eastern European history, fascism and communism, and much ...

It’s 2018 and Where Have the Translations Gone?

Now that the Translation Database is over at Publishers Weekly, and in a format that makes it both possible to update in real time1 and much easier to query, I want to use it as the basis of a couple new regular columns here at Three Percent. First off, I want to get back to running monthly previews of translations. But, ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part IV)

This is the fourth of a five-part interview with Rodrigo Fresán. Earlier parts are all avialble on the Three Percent website (I, II, and III), as are all other Two Month Review posts. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this interview. Will Vanderhyden: The narrator of ...

Let's Get Weird [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On last Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast we covered the opening to the second section of The Invented Part, and coming up later this week we’ll be covering pages 99-207—the second section of “The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin.” As a bit of preparation, below you’ll ...

The Hatred of Music

Pascal Quignard’s __The Hatred of Music_ is the densest, most arcane, most complex book I’ve read in ages. It’s also a book that covers a topic so basic, so universal—almost primordial—that just about any reader will be perversely thrilled by the intersections Quignard unearths between the mind and the world of ...

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Three Percent #102: Beach Books for the Jaded and Depressed

This week’s episode starts with a question from a listener about how translation trends come about, then morphs into a discussion of which books Chad and Tom are bringing on their respective vacations and what makes a “beach book.” Rants are raves are random as always. This week’s music is Girl, You ...

Literature on Location: Part I [BTBA 2016]

As with past years, every week one of the Best Translated Book Award judges will be posting their thoughts and observations on some of the books that they’re reading for this year’s award. Stacey Knecht agreed to kick things off today with this post. Yes, I live in the Netherlands. No, I don’t live in ...

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Three Percent #101: Awards for Authors versus Awards for Books

This week Tom and Chad discuss the merging of the Man Booker International Prize with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the waning interest in Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Book Club, and the Women’s World Cup of Literature. There are also rants about Sevenevens, praise for the Minions movie, and more soccer ...

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Three Percent #100: We Appreciate You

So, we actually made it to our 100th episode! To celebrate, this week Tom and Chad took questions from all our listeners, leading to discussions about how many books we each read (and how many are in translation), what one thing all translators should know, how censorship plays into our publishing decision, and much more. Of ...

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Three Percent #99: Endless Cycle of Misery

This week’s podcast is the latest in the ongoing Three Percent Book Club. Julia Berner-Tobin of Feminist Press joins Tom and Chad to talk about Virginie Despentes’s fantastic Apocalypse Baby. (And to rant about Franzen, because, of course.) And a reminder: Don’t forget to send us your own questions, rants, ...

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Three Percent #98: The 2015 BTBA Finalists!

For this week’s podcast, we invited Best Translated Book Award Fiction Chair Monica Carter on to talk about the finalists for this year’s awards. Monica graciously gave us some insight into the voting process, revealed which of the final ten was a “personal pick” of one of the judges, and managed to ...

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Three Percent #97: Rustling up New Books for the Peanut Gallery

This week, Tom and Chad talk about some of the new translations that they’ve read (or are looking forward to reading) and are most excited about. Along the way are the expected digressions (including an explanation of how editing and rights work when a U.S. publisher and a U.K. publisher separately publish the same ...

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Three Percent #96: The 2015 BTBA Fiction Longlist

On the heels of this week’s big announcement of the 2015 Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist and poetry longlist, Chad and Tom run through the books that made the cut and talk about their favorites, which books are on their reading lists, who they predict will make the shortlist next month, and try their ...

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Three Percent #95: Is Book Advertising a Waste of Money?

Inspired by all the stupid Buick ads (and disturbing Volkswagon ones) playing throughout the NCAA Tournament, we decided to dedicate this week’s episode to talking about advertising for books: whether it’s worthwhile, how much it costs, why are book trailers a thing, who buys books because of ads on a subway, and ...

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Three Percent #94: The Mad and the Bad

This week’s podcast is a special “book club” one in which Tom and Chad talk about Jean-Patrick Manchette’s The Mad and the Bad, a violent little book by the author of Fatale. They also talk about the Spanish branch of Penguin Random House cutting translator rates and this incredible video: This ...

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Three Percent #93: Always a Work in Progress

In this episode, Chad and Tom discuss the recent Festival Neue Literatur, a NYC-based festival promoting German-language literature, and spend a lot of time talking about the ins and outs of editing literature in translation. Additionally, they breakdown this Buzzfeed article about ebook data mining and what this means for ...

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Three Percent #92: Crying in the Sunshine

This week’s podcast features a true roundtable discussion, with Tom and Chad being joined by Caroline Casey from Coffee House Press, Mark Haber and Jeremy Ellis from Brazos Bookstore, Stephen Sparks from Green Apple Books, and Danish author Naja Marie Aidt (Baboon, Rock, Paper, Scissors) to discuss the American ...

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Three Percent #91: Translators, Rates, Money, and Unions

Today’s podcast is a special one, featuring PEN Translation Committee co-chair (and talented Czech translator) Alex Zucker to talk about what translators do and should get paid, and to break down where all the money goes in publishing a work of international literature. In comparison to some other Three Percent ...

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Three Percent #90: That Song Should Be Named "Andre Reed Jersey"

It’s time for our annual music podcast in which Chad, Nate, and Kaija all share songs from their favorite albums of 2014. Although we only talk about four songs each on this podcast, we put together a Spotify playlist featuring 86 songs and running almost six hours. Enjoy! Next week we’ll be back to normally ...

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Three Percent #89: Don't Laugh So Loud

This week’s podcast is all about Denis Johnson’s The Laughing Monsters, which came out last year and is “a high-suspense tale of kaleidoscoping loyalties in the post-9/11 world that shows one of our great novelists at the top of his game.” Writer, critic, and Johnson fan Patrick Smith (here’s a ...

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Three Percent #88: A Shinier Version of Craigslist

In this week’s episode, Chad and Tom discuss some of the books they read in 2014 and make specific “reading resolutions” for 2015. They also talk about Mark Zuckerberg’s book club and Tom’s alma mater playing for the National Championship. Next week, they’ll be discussing Denis ...

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Three Percent #87: Where is Namsan Tower?

On this week’s podcast, Chad and Tom dish about the idea of a Translators Union, Dalkey’s Korean literature series, and the Melville House edition of the “Torture Report,” as well as a mini-rant about the Serial podcast, and a mini-rave about a dear friend who’s passed. This week’s music ...

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Three Percent #86: Translators Aren't Dockworkers

We’re back! And, actually, now that Tom has a more regular schedule at “Albertine”: we’re planning on recording a new episode every other week. More great sports book talk! This week’s episode centers around John O’Brien’s BookBrunch article, Don’t Blame the Readers for Lack ...

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Three Percent #85: Whatever

This week’s podcast covers four major topics: Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano, Michael Henry Heim and The Man Between, the upcoming ALTA Conference, and Atavist Books. And we barely talk about sports at all! But Tom does have a “rave” that includes a reference to this cover: This week’s music ...

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Three Percent #84: The Belated Bolaño Book Club Podcast

Finally, after weeks of putting this off, here is the long anticipated podcast about Roberto Bolaño’s Little Lumpen Novelita. The reason it took so long to get to this was because of Tom’s new job as the Deputy Director at Albertine, the most beautiful Franco-centric bookstore in New York (and/or the whole ...

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Three Percent #83: "Johnny Appledrone"

This week’s podcast is mostly about this BBC article on Hieroglyph, a collaborative project between scientists and science-fiction writers that was inspired by the Neal Stephenson article Innovation Starvation. Basically, this is a call to create fewer dystopian novels, and more positive sci-fi ideas that can help ...

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Three Percent #82: Why We Need [SOLUTION TK] More Than Ever

In this podcast, Chad and Tom discuss Tom’s recent article in Publishing Perspectives (which he wrote in response to Amazon’s infamous letter to readers), along with some thoughts on why we shop at bookstores, and Julian Gough’s Litcoin project. Also, as mentioned at the end of the podcast, Chad and Tom ...

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Three Percent #81: Duck and Cover

With Tom on vacation, Chad recorded a special episode of the podcast with Heather Cleary and Jason Grunebaum, both of whom have a book on the National Translation Award longlist. They talk about Sergio Chejfec’s The Dark, Uday Prakash’s The Girl with the Golden Parasol, air shows, the future of the American ...

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Three Percent #78: "I Believe in Guns and Weed"

On this week’s podcast, Chad and Tom review the opening round of the World Cup of Literature and make some predictions, talk about the Amazon-Hachette kerfuffle, and discuss the awfulness of The American Outlaws and the awesomeness of a couple Wikipedia pages. (You have to listen to find out which ones.) Because it ...

Spain vs. Australia [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Mauro Javier Cardenas. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. In the year 2010, seventeen years after I stopped watching soccer, I wrote a paean to Your Face Tomorrow, claiming that “here’s the wonderfully parenthetical operations of a human mind in ...

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Three Percent #77: Books to Read Between World Cup Matches [UPDATED]

In this week’s podcast we talk about the forthcoming World Cup of Literature and about some of the summer books that we’re both looking forward to reading. Almost all are translations; a few are authors you may have already heard of (Knausgaard); and others will be new to a lot of listeners. In our “Rants ...

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Three Percent #76: All about László

Inspired by Bromance Will’s blog, this podcast is all about how New Directions came to publish László Krasznahorkai and how they stuck with him—a situation that resulted in back-to-back Best Translated Book Award victories. Speaking of, here’s a picture of all three of us from the BTBA party on May ...

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Three Percent #75: The Camel Jumping Podcast

As a bonus for dedicated Three Percent listeners (both of you!), this podcast features the two Fulbright students studying in the translation program this past year: Ayoub Al-Ahmadi from Yemen and Jan Pytalski from Poland. We talk about their individual projects—both of which are likely to be published by Open Letter in ...

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Three Percent #74: One Hundred Years of the NY Times Style Section

OK, that’s a totally lame way to try and combine the two main topics of this week’s podcast: Gabriel García Marquez, and the awful amazingness of the NY Times Style section article on soccer’s popularity in creative circles. Our conversation ranges a bit to include other authors from “el Boom,” ...

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Three Percent #73: The David Peace Episode

In this week’s podcast, Tom and Chad talk about the works of British writer David Peace. Peace was part of the 2003 version of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists (along with Toby Litt, Nicola Baker, David Mitchell, Adam Thirlwell—really solid list), and is the author of nine novels, including the ...

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Three Percent #72: We've Gone Madness—March Madness!

In this bonus mini-podcast, Chad and Tom talk about the NCAA tournament, making many definitely wrong predications in over-confident tones. Of course, depending on your level of knowledge of the NCAA tournament (pro wrestling, I think?), you may have to choose a more sarcastic interpretation of the word “bonus.” ...

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Three Percent #71: The 2014 Best Translated Book Awards Fiction Longlist

This week’s podcast is EPIC. With a minimum of digressions, we review every single book on the 2014 Best Translated Book Award Fiction Longlist, providing descriptions, some commentary on its chances of winning, other remarks about the titles we’ve read, etc. This may be a really long episode, but it’s also ...

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014: The Longlist

Next Tuesday we’ll be announcing the 25-title Best Translated Book Award longlist, which makes today’s announcement of the IFFP longlist even that more intriguing . . . Although there are different eligibility rules between the two prizes—and different books published in the UK vs. the U.S.—there often ...

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Three Percent #70: Bookworm, Amazon, and Iowa

As an interlude in our 2013 round-up series—the Nate & Tom Movie Podcast will be coming soon—Tom and I decided to talk about his recent trip to L.A., where he met with Michael Silverblatt of the amazing Bookworm, and about a couple of recent articles that have been making the rounds in social media and ...

Relocations: 3 Contemporary Russian Women Poets

Two women dominate the history of Russian poetry: Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva. Both authors transcended the label of “woman poet” and live in the realm of the eternal untouchable legends of Russian poetry. To wit, I remember a Russian professor in college correcting a short essay I wrote on an Akhmatova poem ...

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Three Percent #68: A Few Good Books from 2013

Rather than do our normal “favorite books of XXXX” podcast, we decided to focus on four books from last year that we really liked: Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, Javier Marias’s The Infatuations, Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn & Child, and Arnon Grunberg’s Tirza. (Chad also snuck in a ...

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Three Percent #67: The Tom Podcast

From the choice of the opening song—“Royals” by Lorde—to the main topic of great midwestern bookstores and Wisconsin’s beer culture, this podcast is All About Tom. And it’s fantastic. Mostly because we get to talk about a lot of great bookstores. Some of the stores mentioned in this ...

November 2013 Translations Worth Checking Out: The "ORDNUNG!" Edition

Before getting into this month’s list of recommended translations—which is kind of long, mostly because I couldn’t decide on which titles to cut—I want to follow-up a bit on last month’s post about our trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Actually, to be more specific, I want to talk about Germans ...

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Three Percent #65: Erudition Isn't the Same as Being Intentionally Esoteric

This week’s podcast is the first one Tom and I have recorded in almost a month. So after a bit of catching up, we talked about David Bellos’s new translation of Simenon’s Pietr the Latvian, the difficulties of translating “I love you” and all the swears into Japanese, and this list of “The ...

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Three Percent #64: Thanks for Using All the Umlauts

With Tom back from his relaxing vacation, we decided to catch up and talk about the books we read recently, including Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s mystery series, Juan Gabriel Vasquez’s The Sound of Things Falling, and Rafael Bernal’s The Mongolian Conspiracy, among others. We also talk about Amazon’s ...

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Three Percent #63: Spermatic Economy

This week’s podcast is a special combo version featuring two separate conversations: one between Chad, Stephen Sparks (BTBA judge, Green Apple bookseller, and excellent reviewers), and George Carroll; and one between Chad and Paul Yamazaki (legendary City Lights bookseller). Topics range from soccer to Karl Pohrt to ...

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Three Percent #62: The Random Podcast

This week’s podcast is a hodgepodge of opinions, rants, and jokes. We talked about summer music—and our mutual dislike of Robin Thicke—Hawthorne & Child, my trip to Brazil, and bike thieves. And nobody talked about J.K. Rowling or her widely-known pseudonym. Enjoy! And this week’s music is a ...

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Three Percent #61: The Cheery Podcast

At the request of one of Tom’s friends, we tried to keep this particular podcast upbeat and cheery . . . and we sort of succeeded. Most of the podcast revolves around this interview from Publishing Perspectives that Amanda DeMarco did with German publisher Michael Krüger about the 40 years he’s spent at Hanser ...

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Three Percent #60: BEA and Sucking

This post-BookExpo America podcast (with special guest, Bromance Will/Will Evans, the man behind Deep Vellum Press) is all about the good and bad of the country’s largest trade show for publishing. Mostly, it’s a series of rants—not necessarily about the show itself, but about the crap that craps it all up. ...

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Three Percent #59: Don't Call Your Website "Book" Anything

On this week’s podcast, Chad and Tom make fun of yet another new “social book community recommendation” website. Also, they discuss the awesomeness of a number of San Francisco bookstores (and bookstores in general), on the heels of Tom’s first trip to The City by the Bay. And this week’s music ...

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Three Percent #58: Richard Nash.

We’re back! With our newest and semi-delayed installment of the Three Percent Podcast. This week is a two-parter. First, Chad and Tom run down the list of fiction and poetry finalists for the 2013 Best Translated Book Awards. Yes, it’s true that these were announced a couple weeks ago, but, as luck would have it, ...

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Three Percent #57: The Master Unchained [Favorite Movies of 2012]

What is this? The much-delayed “favorite movies of 2012” episode of the Three Percent Podcast? It is! Better late than never, right? Yes, it is. Stop disagreeing, please. This week, Tom is joined by Nate, and they grit their teeth to discuss The Master (P. T. Anderson) and Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino), ...

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Three Percent #56: Apple-azon, Marias, and the Possibility of Love

This week’s podcast is a bit of a hodge-podge: We start out talking about the concept of selling used ebooks, then Tom gets to express his admiration for Javier Marias’s new novel, The Infatuations, and Marias in general, and finally we talk about Houellebecq, which, as can only be expected, is controversial. Oh, ...

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Three Percent #55: Twenty-Five Books to Add to Your List

This week’s podcast is a look at the 25 titles on the Best Translated Book Awards Fiction Longlist. Tom and I discuss each title, talking about which books we’ve read (or want to), and which ones we think will make the list of 10 Finalists. For those of you who aren’t that familiar with all of these ...

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Three Percent #54: Selling Swing Sets and Books to Costco Is for Closers

This week, Chad talks with special guest George Carroll about the enchanted lives of literary sales reps, Seagull Books, the Seagull School of Publishing, László Krasznahorkai’s forthcoming books, and . . . the UEFA Champions League. This week’s music is the bouncy, thumping, chanting Melody off the new K-X-P ...

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Three Percent #53: Are the NBCCs the Greatest American Book Awards?

On this week’s podcast, we welcome National Book Critics Circle board member Carolyn Kellogg to talk about the NBCC awards, the changes to the National Book Award (which set me off on a bit of a paranoid rant), Bookish and its suckishness, and a variety of other literary topics. I also want to add a bit of an update. ...

The Camera Killer

The Camera Killer by Austrian writer Thomas Glavinic, translated by John Brownjohn, is a psychological thriller that was first published in 2003 as Der Kameramörde. The unnamed narrator travels to the region of West Styria over Easter weekend with his “partner” Sonja to stay with their friends, Eva and Heinrich ...

Latest Review: "The Camera Killer" by Thomas Glavinic

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Lisa Boscov-Ellen on Thomas Glavinic’s The Camera Killer, which is translated from the German by John Brownjohn and published by AmazonCrossing. Lisa Boscov-Ellen is another MA student here at the University of Rochester, and translates from Spanish. She was ...

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Three Percent #51: Long Intros and Boy Bands [Favorite Music of 2012]

This week’s podcast features Chad, Nathan Furl, Kaija Straumanis, and Will Cleveland talking about their favorite albums of 2012. (And sometimes 2011.) It’s a pretty tight podcast, featuring thirteen different artists and some interesting insights into why we each like different styles of music. Oh, and of course ...

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Three Percent #50: Favorite Translations of 2012 (And Trilogies Tom Likes)

In this week’s podcast (Tom’s last one of of the year), we discuss the translations we did (and didn’t)1 read from 2012, including Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, Satantango by Laszlo Krashnahorkai, Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolano, and Necropolis by Santiago Gamboa. This kicks off the beginning ...

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Three Percent #49: Two Books, One Rant

This week’s podcast is focused on crime and detective books—both fiction and nonfiction. First off, we talk I monologue about Errol Morris’s A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald and my recent Twitter fight with Joe McGinniss about this case, then we move on to talking about Wolf ...

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Three Percent #48: The Difficulties of Difficult Books

After a bit of a hiatus, Tom Roberge and Chad W. Post are back to discuss what we mean when we say that a book is “difficult.” They use a range of examples, from Finnegans Wake to Mrs. Dalloway to define a few different categories of reading “difficulty,” such as, not being compelled, and having to ...

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Three Percent #47: The Initiation Well

This week, Chad W. Post and Kaija Straumanis talk with Philip Graham — a co-founder and current nonfiction editor of Ninth Letter, author of several books, including The Moon, Come to Earth:Dispatches from Lisbon, — about Portuguese culture and literature, specifically the works of Gonçalo Tavares, whose book The ...

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Three Percent #46: The Greatest ALTA of All ALTAs

This week’s podcast features special guest Kaija Straumanis to help preview the upcoming American Literary Translators Conference. (Click here for more information about the conference.) Every fall, approx. 350 translators get together for three days of panels, discussions, readings, movies, and drinking. (Oh, and ...

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Three Percent #45: +1

This week’s podcast features freelance book critic Jacob Silverman, who stirred up a lot of discussion last month when Slate published his piece, Against Enthusiasm about “the epidemic of niceness in online book culture.” Basically, Jacob argued that online book culture has lead away from legit discussion to ...

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Three Percent #44: The Exoticism of Fruit Machines

This week’s podcast—the last before Tom goes off to visit the good people of Carolina—is a bit of a surprise. Tom told me he had a topic, but wanted to spring it on me and get my unprepared reaction. So, to share in the spirit of surprises, I’m not going to say anything about what we talked about, ...

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Three Percent #43: This Is Spoilers

I’m just back from family vacation, so this week we decided to take things easy and talk about The Dark Knight Rises (which we sort of spoil for anyone who either hasn’t seen it, or thinks it’s great), the Olympics, books we’ve read recently, and J. K. Rowling and her misguided attempt to prevent ...

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Three Percent #42: There's a Chance that Things'll Get Weird

This week, Will Evans joins us to talk about contemporary Russian literature (READ THIS BOOK) and the Read Russia initiative at this year’s BEA. (Sidenote: click on that link just to see the section at the bottom left corner where you can share the page via “Socialist Media.” Seriously.) We talk about Zakhar ...

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Three Percent #41: One Hundred Words or Fewer

This week’s podcast (which was actually recorded weeks ago) features Ryan Chapman of The Penguin Press, who came on with us to discuss the fun marketing campaign Penguin put on to celebrate the release of the ebook versions of all of Thomas Pynchon’s books. As usual the conversation swerves from that to discussing ...

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Three Percent #40: You Owe Me Whiskey!

In this week’s podcast, Tom and I talk about BookExpo America and its parties, in particular the rocking one that took place at the New Directions offices. I also rant (a bit) about why I didn’t get to go to Cape Town to present my speech, The Long Term Is the Only Race Worth Winning. There’s also a bit of ...

Russian Big Book Prize Shortlist Announced

Friend of Three Percent, Lisa Hayden Espenschade, who runs the incredible Russian literature blog Lizok’s Bookshelf posted the shortlist for the über-prestigious Big Book (Bol’shaya Kniga) Prize. Big Book is one of the “big three” Russian literary prizes, along with the Russian Booker and the National ...

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Three Percent #39: The King of Publishing

In this week’s podcast, Tom and I talk about two related subjects: this New Yorker article about the translation of the first line of Camus’ The Stranger, and the PEN World Voices panel about “Reviewing Translations.” (See video embedded below.) There are also some digressions, mostly involving me ...

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Three Percent #38: Beautiful Song Is on the Radio, Is in the TV Shows

This week’s podcast is a special Eurovision edition featuring resident Eurovision expert, Kaija Straumanis. We go through a bunch of the videos/songs participating in this year’s competition and make fun of almost everything while also trying to come to understand why Eurovision is so compelling in its ...

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Three Percent Podcast #37: No Offense

Tom and I were on fire during this week’s podcast, talking about the PEN World Voices Festival and some interesting questions we were asked in an interview for the Picador Book Room Tumblr. While talking about PEN WV, what is learned about a location from reading a book set there, what’s lost and/or gained in ...

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Three Percent #36: A Couple Gin & Tonics Does NOT Make Me a Better Oulipian

(My initial plan was to create a title for this podcast that was actually an acrostic spelling out “Oulipo.” The best I came up with was “Our Unique Lab Instigating Poetic Opportunities,” which is decent, self-referential, and strange, but not perfect. Unfortunately, drinking didn’t help me ...

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Three Percent #35: All You Need Is a Gun and a Girl

This week we completely avoid talking about Amazon and the Department of Justice to focus on genre books in translation. Tom’s a big noir/thriller fan, so we talk about a number of those, but we also discuss some works of science-fiction, including XYZ. And since Tom wouldn’t send me pictures of his tattoos, ...

Haruki Murakami: In Search of this Elusive Writer

For all of you Murakami fans out there, embedded below is Haruki Murakami: In Search of this Elusive Writer, an hour-long BBC documentary by Alan Yentob (presenter) and Rupert Edwards (camerawork). According to this post about it: Haruki Murakami holds the titles of both the most popular novelist in Japan and the most ...

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Three Percent #34: "These Creatures I Must Woo"

This week Tom and I welcomed Jeff Waxman of University of Chicago Press and 57th Street Books to the podcast to talk about different approaches to marketing different “types” of translations, such as contemporary translations vs. classic works vs. new translations vs. reprints vs. . . . It’s an interesting ...

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Three Percent #33: The Spaz and the Straight Man

In this week’s podcast, we talk about the future of book reviewing, focusing on a few central questions: who reads book reviews? (A: definitely not my students), what is the function of the book review in today’s world?, is there a website/app that would be the ideal book review platform? We also digress into ...

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Three Percent #32: Everybody Loves a Bracket

With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament getting underway this afternoon (I refuse to acknowledge the “First Four” games), Tom and I thought this would be a good time to talk about the fact that we both picked the exact same Final Four (Kentucky, Missouri, UNC, and Ohio State) and that The Morning ...

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Three Percent #31: We're All Winners, But Some Win Better Than Others

To celebrate tonight’s announcements of the National Book Critic Circle Award winners, Tom and I decided to go through all six categories (fiction, nonfiction, autobiography, biography, criticism, and poetry) and pick out who we thought would win. Seeing that neither of us has read many of the finalists, this makes for ...

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Three Percent #30: Half-Baked Literary Freak

In this week’s podcast, Chad and Tom welcome Ed Nawotka, editor of Publishing Perspectives, to unpack the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist that was announced this week. (Also, Harry Potter, the Oscars, and other fun miscellany all make random appearances.) (And, in honor of the big BTBA longlist ...

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Three Percent #29: Get to the Whale!

This week’s podcast is a special feature on Kaija Straumanis, who recently received her MA in literary translation from the University of Rochester. Although our conversation is a bit rangy (and if you think this is random, you should visit Plüb sometime), we focus mainly on Kaija’s translation of Latvian author ...

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Three Percent #28: Books and Being Alone

This week’s podcast is remarkable both for its complete lack of curse words (not even kidding), and for its very professional discussion about Garth Hallberg’s recent essay Why Write Novels at All? that appeared in the New York Times Magazine. We were fortunate enough to get Garth in on this podcast so that he ...

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Three Percent #27: The Night of a Million Books

In this week’s podcast, Tom and I talk about the ABA’s Winter Institute, which just took place in New Orleans. We also go on about World Book Night, which you should volunteer for by clicking here. We also talked about my daughter and her “letter of hate” to the awful Dan Borislow, who, ...

This Is Very True

Although this op-ed piece is primarily about San Francisco performing arts orgs, it really applies to any and all arts nonprofits: In general, arts organizations have done all they can to reduce costs. They’ve reached out to audiences, luring them with promotions, free stuff, and advertising they can barely afford. So ...

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Three Percent #26: What's in Store for 2008 (Er . . . 2012)

After a run of special podcasts, we’re back to the normal Tom and Chad show . . . This week we decided to talk about books we’re looking forward to and other random predictions about 2012. (I believe that is the year we are living in. Although as you’ll hear when you listen, I have a few problems knowing ...

Reading the World Podcast #10: Edith Grossman

After a hiatus, the Reading the World Podcast is thrilled to be back with the support of the University of California Irvine’s International Center for Writing and Translation. In this new episode, translator Edith Grossman talks about her recent book Why Translation Matters, her translations of Luis de Gongora’s ...

Great Publishing Jobs

Over the break, I heard about two great publishing jobs that might interest some of you (and many of my students, former students, and colleagues). First up, the phenomenal Melville House is hiring a publicist. Duties include performing all aspects of book publicity, including: designing campaigns; writing press ...

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Three Percent #25: Movies. They're Like Books for Smart People!

In this week’s podcast, we finish indulging our year-end listing proclivities by running down the best movies of 2011. Chad is absent (poor guy’s never seen a movie), but, not to worry, your comfortingly consistent host Tom Roberge is joined by Nathan Furl (of Open Letter) to set the record straight about whether ...

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Three Percent #24: All Sound Is Music to Someone

In this week’s podcast we take a break from that books thing to talk about the best music of 2011 according to me (Chad W. Post) and guest host Will Cleveland. Nathan Furl and Six (aka Elizabeth Mullins) also throw in their opinions about a ten artists, including Handsome Furs, WU LYF, M83, Battles, A.A. Bondy, Frank ...

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Three Percent #23: Nonfiction Books Are Books Too

In this week’s podcast we learn the following: Chad is working through the five stages of grief about Albert Pujols and MSU (he is filled with ANGER); Tom doesn’t read a ton of nonfiction, but when he does, it tends to focus on all things violent (see a theme?); faux-karaoke singers on the subway might suck, but ...

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Three Percent #22: Best Fiction of 2011

Since the year is coming to an end, it seemed like the perfect time for us to start creating our “best of” lists for 2011. We decided to start with the best fiction that we read over the past year. Our list is pretty idiosyncratic, and all the titles mentioned are worth checking out. You’ll have to listen ...

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Three Percent #21: This Title Is Not Plagiarized

This week, Tom and I discuss Q.R. Markham and the plagiarism scandal surrounding his novel Assassin of Secrets. Our conversation spins outwards from the event itself, to postmodern recontextualizing, Girl Talk, addiction, and why James Frey still sucks. Things get a bit crazy from there, especially since we recorded this ...

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Three Percent #20: Everyone in the World Writes in English

In this week’s podcast, Tom and I talk about the strange cases of books/authors that most people don’t think of as having been translated. (Not to give away too much, but we start with Haruki Murakami.) From there, we talk about which authors are most associated with particular countries, the pros and cons of ...

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Three Percent #19: The Moneyball of Book Publishing

This week’s podcast centers around two things: Gerald Howard’s article in PW about the possible influence of Moneyball ideas on book publishing, and Helen DeWitt’s comments in an interview I did with her about stats in fiction. We also talk about the World Series, and my unwavering faith in the St. Louis ...

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Three Percent #18: Occupy Everything

This week’s podcast is a mixed bag of stuff. Our main focus is on book events—why from a publisher’s perspective they can be frustrating, what makes them interesting (or not), etc. But we also talk a bit about Occupy Wall Street and books that we hope are in the OWS library. Oh, and as can only be ...

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Three Percent #17: Gambling on the Nobel Prize

This week’s podcast is a special two-part episode. We recorded the first half on Wednesday and speculated about who was going to win this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature and talked about the odd and awesome British practice of betting on the winner. The second half we recorded yesterday, after we found out that ...

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Three Percent #16: There's a Book Version of That

Following on last week’s fall books preview, this podcast is centered around movies coming out over the next few months, in particular, movies based on books. Tom does most all of the recommending, since he’s a much bigger movie buff than I am, and his list includes movies that he’s really excited about ...

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Three Percent #15: "Let's Rock!"

This week’s podcast is our official “Fall Books Preview,” in which we list a dozen or so books we’re really excited about, diss a few states in the union, and discuss a few strange and interesting book covers. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to get the complete list, but here are a few of ...

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Three Percent #14: Books to Read in College

Since the University of Rochester fall semester started on Wednesday, we decided that this week’s podcast would center around books that you should read in college. This includes things that should be taught in classes, some general comments on teaching the life out of literature, and why teaching literature in ...

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Three Percent #13: Literary Journals, Why We Don't Read Short Stories, and the $%#@ing Brewers

For this week’s podcast, Tom and I answered our first mailbag question about literary journals, discussed the old adage that “short stories don’t sell,” and complained about the unbeatable Milwaukee Brewers. (We also talk a bit about my son’s obsession with all 19 seasons of the Mighty Morphin ...

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Three Percent #12: Lawsuits and Million Dollar Ideas

For this week’s podcast we decided to talk about a few recent news items, starting with this lawsuit against Apple that “alleges that the publishers and Apple colluded to increase prices for popular e-book titles to boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.” ...

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Three Percent #10: So Long, Borders!

We’re finally back from our respective vacations, and back to podcasting. The big news from when we were gone was the liquidation and ultimate demise of Borders, so this week we talked about bookselling. About the fallout of Borders closing down, about the big losers, about the possibilities for the resurgence of ...

Klagenfurt Update: Ernst Willner and More

In addition to Leif Randt’s Ernst Willner prize, the Festival of German-Language Literature has also announced its Ingeborg Bachmann, Kelag, 3sat, and for the first time ever, Audience Award for its submissions of new German literature. The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, one of the most prestigious that the Festival awards, ...

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Three Percent #9: Authors I Used to Love

In this week’s podcast, we talk a bit about authors we “broke up” with. Writers like, say, Philip Roth, who evokes a pretty harsh reaction from Tom . . . Additionally we talk about authors we thought we had given up on, but to whom we keep returning and returning. And as usual, we digress a bit, talking ...

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Three Percent #8: Summer Recommendations

This week, we finish up our John Locke discussion by quoting from his How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in Five Months, and then move on to discussing good literature, including six book recommendations for the summer. Tom’s Picks: How I Became a Nun by Cesar Aira, translated from the Spanish by Chris ...

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Three Percent #7: Ebook Pricing and Elitism

This week’s podcast centers around this piece about ebook pricing, which I wrote for Publishing Perspectives, and which upset approximately 70,000 self-publishing folks and fans of John Locke. Tom and I talk about some of the issues with ebook pricing and with the impact of the $.99 price point on the value of books and ...

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Three Percent #6: Twitter, Twitter, Books, Twitter

We’re back again with this week’s podcast, in which we discuss whether ebook pricing can destroy the world, whether publishers with unlimited resources can save the world, and whether anyone in the world really wants their favorite authors to Tweet @ them. It’s a fun conversation, and when you listen to ...

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#5: What to Read Next after BEA

This week, Tom and I dropped the baseball talk (for the most part, and to avoid cursing the Cardinals in advance of the weekend series against the Cubs) to talk about BookExpo America: Harlequin & their NASCAR love series, the lack of actual books at the fair, the parties, and Patti Smith. We also talked about Read ...

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Three Percent Podcast #4: Books for Baseball Players

This week is another baseball-centric podcast featuring Tom Roberge’s individual book recommendations for five Mets players. He came up with this idea as a tribute to the recently “retired” Phil Jackson (who won’t be smoking peyote in his Montana cabin), who is famous for giving books to all of his ...

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Three Percent Podcast #3: Never Any End to Paris, Irony, and Rooting for Teams You Hate

In this week’s episode, Tom and Chad discuss Enrique Vila-Matas’s forthcoming “Never Any End to Paris,” which was translated by Anne McLean. In the novel, the narrator gives a three-day lecture on irony and his experiences living in Paris for two years, trying to emulate Ernest Hemingway. ...

NEA Literature Translation Fellowships

The National Endowment for the Arts just announced this year’s recipients of their Literature Translation Fellowships, and wow is this a loaded group. It’s very exciting to see so many friends and colleagues on this list, and a lot of the projects sound really amazing . . . Below is the list of winners with ...

Publishing Perspectives Editorial (Redux, Part Two)

So, what can be done to accomplish the change in priority from “How do we pay for translated fiction?” into “How do we get more people interested in these books?” First off, there’s the “publishers are sheep” problem. I once saw Scott Moyer (formerly of Random House and Penguin, currently working at the Andrew ...

Divine Madness: Hamsun in America

Where: 58 Park Ave at 38th St, NY, NY $9 ($6 ASF members. In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Knut Hamsun’s birth, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NRK, has produced a series of films about the author’s life and work. Divine Madness: Hamsun in America portrays the hardships of Hamsun’s childhood, his ...

The Discoverer by Jan Kjaerstad (Part III of V)

The Frankfurt Book Fair is going all week, so rather than vanish for a few days, all this week we’re serializing the opening of Jan Kjaerstad’s _The Discoverer, translated from the Norwegian by Barbara Haveland. This is the follow-up to The Conqueror (although each book in the Wergeland Trilogy can be read ...

Latest Review: Landscape in Concrete by Jakov Lind

The latest addition to our review section is a piece by Nigel Beale on Jakov Lind’s Landscape in Concrete. Usually we don’t run reviews of our own books (which initially seemed like a good idea, but sort of doesn’t make sense, since Open Letter books are as interesting as a lot of the titles we do review, ...

World Literature Weekend: Voicing the Masters (and Mistresses): Translation with Variations

with Marina Warner and Robert Chandler Where: Stevenson Room, British Museum, London, UK Marina Warner, the prominent writer, critic, historian and broadcaster, and Robert Chandler, the eminent translator of Russian texts, will together explore their interest in the translation of oral stories into written literature. ...

World Literature Weekend: Mourid Barghouti with Ruth Padel

Venue: London Review Bookshop, London, UK Midnight and Other Poems, translated by Radwa Ashour, is the first major collection of Mourid Barghouti’s poetry to be published in the UK. This remarkable Palestinian writer, best known to English-language readers for his autobiography I Saw Ramallah, which won the Naguib Mahfouz ...

Lorin Stein on 2666

Lorin Stein, the American editor of Bolaño’s 2666, was on NPR last week. They broadcast a discussion he led about 2666 at Politics and Prose in Wasington, ...

Here on Earth: The Best Books in Translation

Yesterday, I had the somewhat surreal experience of being on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Here on Earth with Esther Allen (brilliant translator, director of the Center for Literary Translation, and all around amazing champion of literature in translation) and host Jean Feraca while waiting to catch my flight out of ...

Full Interview with Bragi Olafsson

We conducted this interview a few months ago, but thought we’d run it in its entirety today, since his book is now available and will be shipping to bookstores in the very near future. Bragi Ólafsson was born in Reykjavik, and may be most well known for playing bass in The Sugarcubes, Björk’s first band. After ...

Midnight's Children the Booker of Bookers, Again

Despite Sara Kramer’s most passionate campaigning for J.G. Farrell’s Siege of Krishnapur, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children once again has received the “Booker of Bookers”: For the second time, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie has been judged the best ever winner of the ...

Reading the World on The World

Last week, Bill Marx—the mastermind behind the World Books section of PRI’s The World website—was kind enough to interview me about Reading the World for his World Books Podcast. It’s always fun to talk with Bill—he knows more about international literature than almost everyone I know—and ...

The Future of Books by Mike Shatzkin

Last week, Idea Logical posted a speech that founder Mike Shatzkin (really, you should read his bio, it’s incredible) gave to the Danish Book Trade. The article, entitled The Future of Books for Publishers and Booksellers is one of the best I’ve ever read about the current publishing situation and what’s to ...

Cervantes Institute TV

A few months back I was on a panel about new technologies (mainly the internet) and translation. The panel was fine, but what was most interesting was a discussion afterwards in which a group of us suddenly realized that none of the day’s events were being taped . . . It seems like such a missed opportunity—here ...

Things Fall Apart

Fifty years after he published Things Fall Apart, his first novel, the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe recalls having modest hopes for the book. At the time, he was a young university graduate who had found a job at the Nigerian Broadcasting Company, in Lagos. “I was alone in my room, scribbling away, and if nobody had ...

The Future of Reading

Some of the ‘Acts’ are a little meh, and I’m particularly sick of everyone comparing everything to 1984, but there are some goodies about Amazon’s new Kindle, which I expect to have completely forgotten in 6 months time. Act I: The act of buying When someone buys a book, they are also ...

Preaching to the Choir — AKA Hating on Book-TV

I frequently complain about how far behind the times the publishing field is when it comes to technology. I’m not talking about e-books or single-copy pod machines (although there is that), but simply about the fact that there’s a frickin’ TV station for cats, yet when it comes to books there’s ...

Independent Bookstore Feature

Not sure why we didn’t cotton on to this sooner, but Maud Newton’s running a fantastic series of articles on independent bookstores this month. So far, she’s had: Jim Hanas write on Burke’s Book Store in Memphis, TN; Mark Athitakis on DC’s Books for America; Sean Carman on D.C.’s ...