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A Week of Quick Links: Monday

Since basically no one is going to be in the office this week, rather than try and write up longer, informative posts, I’m going to try and post a round-up a day of interesting links/blog posts, etc., etc. No guarantees this will actually happen—I’m pretty skilled at starting projects that I never finish . . ...

A few quick Monday links

Dubravka Ugresic interview at The Rumpus. The Czech Literature Portal. Translators Struggle to Prove Their Academic Bona Fides at The Chronicle of Higher ...

Interview with Amaia Gabantxo

To finish off this month of Spanish literature, I talked to Amaia Gabantxo, translator of Twist and Blade of Light by Harkaitz Cano along with a half-dozen other Basque authors, including Bernardo Atxaga, Unai Elorriaga, and Kirmen Uribe, among others. She also moonlights as a flamenco singer and recently released an ...

“Four by Four” by Sara Mesa

Below is an excerpt from Four by Four by Sara Mesa, translated by Katie Whittemore. To give you a bit of context, I'm including the synopsis that Katie sent us with her original sample: The novel is composed of three sections, each written in a distinct narrative voice and style. In Part One, we are introduced to ...

9 x 9 x 9: Everything Comes to an End

The other day I saw someone on Twitter asking haters of "best of" lists what changes they would institute to make these things more palatable. I thought about this for longer than I'd like to admit because a) circa-2001, I used to love year-end recaps. This was the era of "Best Week Ever" and other clip shows that were ...

The Fault in Our Numbers

the cigarette consumed itself inside her body, her extraordinary body, 70 percent water, 30 percent smoke, and I could not understand it —The Nocilla Lab (Sales(S) x List Price(P)) x Readership® – Fixed Operating Expenses(FOE) – Printing(PR) – Author Payment(AP) – Translator Payment(TP) – Marketing Costs(MC) = ...

Three Percent #143: The Cocky Pod

This week, Chad and Tom return to basics--more book talk than industry talk, a promise to release a new episode every other Wednesday--but start off with something that's very, very Three Percent: #Cockygate. Although the #Cockygate lawsuit is interesting in its own right, it's the breakdown of the seedy underworld of gaming ...

Tracing Rodoreda's Motifs in "Carnival" [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast Brian and I talk about the next seven stories in Selected Stories by Mercè Rodoreda (with special guest Mark Haber!): “Afternoon at the Cinema,” “Ice Cream,” “Carnival,” “Engaged,” “In a Whisper,” ...

Why These Poetry Finalists Should Win [BTBA 2017]

Following on yesterday’s post on the fiction finalists, here are links to the “Why This Book Should Win” posts for the five poetry finalists along with short blurbs about what makes each book so good. And once again, if you want to weigh in with your own thoughts, feel free to post to the BTBA Facebook ...

“Why This Book Should Win” So Far . . .

Unless someone surprises me with a new write-up, we don’t have any Why This Book Should Win posts for today. That leaves fifteen books to be covered next week, leading us right into the April 18th announcement of the BTBA fiction and poetry finalists. But for today, I thought I’d just post links to all twenty of the ...

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Three Percent #123: The Challenges of Selling Books

This week’s podcast opens with the sad news of Harry Mathews’s passing, then goes deep on Winter Institute, and a couple really long essays Chad wrote for Three Percent. There’s a lot that gets unpacked in this episode, from anticipatory lists and market acceleration, to the way that bookstores choose which ...

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Three Percent #118: Our Titles Are No Better

This week’s podcast kicks off with a list of corrections from episode 117, from a mix-up of Sophies to an explanation of which Basque Country soccer team only fields Basque players. Then Chad and Tom move on to talk about the recent NEIBA conference and some fall titles they left out of their mini-previews before ...

“The Big Green Tent” by Ludmila Ulitskaya [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Stacey Knecht, BTBA judge and translator from the Czech and Dutch. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya, translated from the Russian by ...

Introducing "The Vegetarian" by Han Kang [RTWBC]

As previously announced, the fiction book we’re reading for this month’s Reading the World Book Club is The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith. Since I already read this one—taught it in my class last year, more on that below—I thought I’d start out this ...

Latvian Rap, Porziņģis, Translations [& What Deadspin Was Apparently Too Good For]

Back in July 2015, Deadspin posted an article on a rap song by the Latvian group Transleiteris about Latvian-born, New York Knicks player Kristaps Porziņģis. After the initial ripple of interest across the Internet, and because sometimes I don’t sleep at night and have hours of free time as a result, it ...

PEN Translation Prizes

This morning, PEN America released the longlist for their two annual translation prizes—the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and the PEN Translation Prize (for prose.) I’m going to start by listing the PEN Translation Prize longlist, which includes an Open Letter title! This has never happened before, so ...

Translation Database Updates: AmazonCrossing Is the Story

The other day, I posted about the Translation Databases, pointing out that the 2014, 2015, and 2016 databases have all be substantially updated. That post was a bit bleak, talking about a 15% reduction in the number of works of fiction and poetry published in 2015 when compared to 2014.1 Since that went live, a lot of ...

Open Letter Review Roundup!

Over the past few weeks, our books have received a bunch of great reviews. Each time this happens, I plan on posting about it on the blog, then I start answering emails, or teaching a class, or doing some mundane publishing related task (sales reports! metadata!) and don’t get around to it. So, here’s a huge ...

Second Round of the Women's World Cup of Literature [Women's World Cup of Literature]

The second round of the first ever “Women’s World Cup of Literature”: kicks off later today, with Canada taking on New Zealand. Before posting that result, I wanted to make sure that everyone is up to speed, so here’s a preview of all six second round matches, with links to how they won their first ...

The Crimson Thread of Abandon

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 even if it wasn’t as good as it is: an introduction to the work of a creative ...

The Indian

The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then comes sly awareness of the flow from preconsciousness to consciousness, “Murmuring ...

Why This Book Should Win: BTBA Judge Daniel Medin Q&A with John Keene about Letters from a Seducer

John Keene is the author of Annotations, and Counternarratives, both published by New Directions, as well as several other works, including the poetry collection Seismosis, with artist Christopher Stackhouse, and a translation of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer. Daniel Medin teaches at the ...

The Little Horse

The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered on his own property for overdue political ...

Chad vs. Skype/Moneybookers

Admittedly, this has absolutely nothing to do with international fiction, but since it is related to this week’s podcast and is incredibly hilarious, I feel like I have to share. Here’s the setup: Back in 2008, I bought credit on Skype to call some people in India for an article I was writing. After doing the ...

Thousand Times Broken: A Conversation with Translator Gillian Conoley [Part II]

The writer Henri Michaux had two great missions in life: to explore the darkest parts of human consciousness, and record what he found in those explorations in the clearest possible way. That’s according to Gillian Conoley, who recently published the first English translations of three of Michaux’s books. Thousand Times ...

Portugal vs. USA [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Will Evans. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. The result came to me as a shock, more of a shock to me even than to you: the US pulled out a 3-2 stunner of a victory over Portugal in the 2014 World Cup of Literature: David Foster Wallace’s final, ...

World Cup of Literature: The Books, The Judges, The Match Schedule

With the Real World Cup (RWC) kicking off Thursday afternoon, it’s time to announce the participants in this year’s World Cup of Literature (WCL). This post is pretty long, but is also packed with information: all 32 competing titles, the names of the 24 judges, a bit of info on the methodology, and the official ...

Why This Book Should Win: The 10 Fiction Finalists

Now that the ten finalists for the 2014 BTBA in Fiction have been announced, it’s worth taking a look back at the reasons “why these books should win” according to the judges and other readers. Below is a list of all ten finalists, with links to their individual write ups along with a key quote from each. ...

“Blinding” by Mircea Cărtărescu [Why This Book Should Win]

And here’s the final post in the “Why This Book Should Win” series for the 2014 BTBA fiction longlist. I’ll post a handy guide to all of these posts later this afternoon, but for now just enjoy Bromance Will (aka Will Evans, the founder and director of Deep Vellum) wax enthusiastic for his favorite book from the past ...

An Amazing Collection of Sentences from all 25 Books on the BTBA Fiction Longlist

Shortly after the BTBA Fiction Longlist was announced, Tara Murphy and Jesse Eckerlin from Biblioasis came up with the idea of creating a “single-sentence sampler” featuring one line from each of the 25 longlisted titles. But I’ll let Jesse explain what developed: This week’s post is for those of ...

2013 Music! [Kaija's Picks]

Because we at Open Letter value deadlines and all things timely, I’m going to keep this short and sweet1 and over a month late to bring to you my ten Best Of 2013 album/song/music picks. As I mentioned on the podcast, I had a particularly hard time choosing 10 albums as a whole (which I cheat on anyway) because there ...

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Three Percent #69: It's Still 2013 Somewhere

This week, we finally continue our series of podcasts summing up the books, music, and movies of 2013. Because summing up 2013 only gets old when we say it does! Anyway, the entire Open Letter office is featured on this podcast, with each of us sharing our favorite albums from last year. To make it easier for you to check ...

The Snow Day Edition [Some January Translations]

Along with about, well, everyone else in the northeast, I’m snowed into my apartment today, so instead of answering the phones at Open Letter (HA! no one ever calls us), I’m at home, working on our forthcoming anthology of Spanish literature, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, and, as a break of sorts, I thought ...

The Big Books of the BTBA

This post is courtesy of BTBA judge, Scott Esposito. Scott Esposito blogs at Conversational Reading and you can find his tweets here. I like the fact that the BTBA has a strong track record for picking not only the massive, monumental doorstoppers that tend to garner the lion’s share of award attention but also the slim, ...

Small Demons (Probably) Shutting Down

Small Demons, one of the flashiest, and most highly-touted of the book discovery sites to launch in the past few years, appears to be in big trouble. From The Bookseller: Small Demons, headed by chief executive Valla Vakili, cross-references people, places, songs, books, films, food, drink and gadgets mentioned in books, ...

Wigrum

From the start, Daniel Canty’s Wigrum, published by Canadian press Talonbooks, is obviously a novel of form. Known also as a graphic designer in Quebec, Canty takes those skills and puts them towards this “novel of inventory” and creates a framework from which to hang the inventories. We get a table of contents, where ...

High Tide for $3.99!

I mentioned this in my September translation overview post, but for those who missed it, we’re currently selling the ebook version of High Tide for $3.99. The book itself—which is amazing, more on that below—officially releases on September 26th. So, this week the ebook is $3.99, next week it’ll be ...

Ten Translations to Check Out in September: Not Really a Listicle

I’ve been wanting to do monthly highlights of books coming out for a while, but thought to myself that, well, Flavorwire already does stuff like this, so why bother. Then I remembered that Flavorwire is the worst, so here we are. High Tide by Inga Ābele. Translated from the Latvian by Kaija Straumanis. ($15.95, ...

Preview of Brazilian Literature at Frankfurt

You may have already read this, but last week, Publishing Perspectives ran a piece I wrote about Brazil being the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair this fall. Below is that article in full with extra links to all the books mentioned. (And as a sidenote, in addition to the review of João Almino’s The Book of ...

New Vessel Press [New Cool Things, Part II]

One of the exciting new trends in publishing is the consolidation of mega-companies to create a totally misbalanced marketplace that mimics the unequal distribution of wealth in America that anyone who loves freedom obviously agrees with. Well, that or the new ways that international titles are finding their way into the ...

Semi-ode to DFW

Today’s post, written by Erik Estep, a librarian at SIU Edwardsville who has contributed to Three Percent in the past, is more or less an ode and reflection on David Foster Wallace and his work, as well as some commentary on the somewhat critically received DFW biography by D.T. Max. Since the majority of us at and ...

Mikhail Shishkin's April Tour

I think I’ve mentioned this once or twice in recent posts, but although Mikhail Shishkin won’t be attending BookExpo America this year he WILL be touring throughout the U.S. this April, starting in San Francisco and hitting up Austin, Boston, and New York City. Below is a list of all the dates and general ...

2013 Longlist for the International Prize for Arabic Literature

Bit behind with this, but last week the longlist of the 16 novels in the running for the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Literature (f/k/a the Arabic Booker) were announced. This year’s longlisted authors come from nine different countries, including Kuwait for the first time. Rabee Jaber, who won the Prize in ...

I'll Take Some of It Back [IMPAC 2013]

Every year, the insanely long longlist is announced for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and every year I make fun of the award, mainly for the number of titles in contention (154 this year), and the aesthetic shittiness of their website. Until now. There are still about 100 titles too many on the longlist, ...

Daughter of Silence

Acclaimed Argentinean poet and novelist Manuela Fingueret details the 1980’s neofascist military dictatorship in Argentina and its dark, painful parallels to the Holocaust through the tales and memories of a mother and daughter in her second novel Daughter of Silence. Translated by Darrell B. Lockhart, Daughter of Silence ...

Latest Review: "Daughter of Silence" by Manuela Fingueret

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Pierce Alquist on Manuela Fingueret’s Daughter of Silence, which is translated from the Spanish by Darrell B. Lockhart and is available from Texas Tech University Press. This is Pierce’s first review for threepercent. Pierce is a student at the University ...

"Creative Constraints: Translation and Authorship"

Even if Peter Bush hadn’t have sent along the copy of his essay that’s in this collection, I think I would’ve been interested in checking out Creative Constraints: Translation and Authorship, which just came out from Monash University Press in Australia. The essays in this volume address one of the ...

Very Short List: World in Translation Month

The people at Very Short List were kind enough to ask me to put together a special list featuring items related to World in Translation Month. For anyone who doesn’t know, VSL started a few years ago with a very simple idea: every day subscribers would receive an email highlighting one cool and interesting thing. ...

"Most Beauteous Non-Prostitution Woman in Shortest Dress" [FuckyeahEurovision!]

After a minor hiatus, Janis Stirna is back with his on-going preview of the Eurovision. The semi-finals start next Tuesday (5/22), and he promised me he’d cover all the entries before the finals along with all his yes/no votes on who will make it to the finals. Hello my friends. If You are here today this is ...

China's "20 Under 40"

The February newsletter from the Chinese-literature centric Paper Republic has an interesting write-up of the “Future Masters” contest—a competition organized by People’s Literature magazine, Shanda Literature, and a media company from Chengdu, to identify 20 of the best young Chinese writers. ...

Making the Translator Visible: Jason Grunebaum

Simply put, Jason Grunebaum is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Super energetic, witty as all get out, he should have his own reality show. (Or something.) At least a podcast. Or a regular guest spot on someone else’s podcast. (Jason: you going to be at MLA? If so, let’s talk.) He’s also ...

Making the Translator Visible: Matt Rowe

I first met Matt Rowe when he attended his first ALTA conference a few years back as an ALTA fellow. Matt’s an interesting guy with, at expense of making a fool of my memory, an interesting history, having started his career in computers, working for, among other companies, Microsoft. Then he abandoned that all ...

And Then There Was BAM!

The Melville House blog has a really interesting post about the future of Barnes & Noble that links off to this piece by Rick Aristotle Munarriz. Barnes & Noble is coming off another dreadful quarter. Back out the Nook and its digital downloads and you’ll find that sales actually fell by 11% at its ...

"Reading Alberto Moravia in Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy"

This past weekend, the NY Times Book Review included this interesting essay by Rachel Donadio about reading Alberto Moravia: In its culture as in its politics, Italy lives under the shadow of Silvio Berlusconi. With his endless legal entanglements and sexual imbroglios and his colorful manner of governing (or not ...

Inside Higher Ed on The Three Percent Problem

At some point in the next couple weeks, I’ll post something more substantial about the sales and rankings for The Three Percent Problem, our $2.99 ebook that collects the best of the best of Three Percent and organizes these pieces into a semi-coherent look at the contemporary publishing scene. (In case you’re ...

"Good Offices" by Evelio Rosero [Read This Next]

This week’s Read This Next title is Good Offices by Evelio Rosero, translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean and Anna Milsom, and coming out from New Directions next week. Good Offices is the second novel by Evelio Rosero (after The Armies, 2009) to be published by New Directions. It’s also the first to be ...

The Three Percent Problem Release Day!

Following up on Monday’s post, today is the official release day for The Three Percent Problem: Rants and Responses on Publishing, Translation, and the Future of Reading. This “best of” collection is a fairly coherent survey of the contemporary publishing scene, ranging from an explanation of the ...

Introducing "The Three Percent Problem" [Update on Kindle Apps]

In a variety of podcasts and other posts, I’ve made reference to a “best of Three Percent” book that we were putting together. One that would sell for $2.99 with all the proceeds going to benefit translators . . . Well, at long last, after forcing Taylor McCabe (Intern #1) to read and sort some thousands ...

Horacio Castellano Moya's "Tyrant Memory" [Read This Next]

Following up on my last post, it’s a pleasure to announce that the first Read This Next selection is Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Tyrant Memory, which is translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver and available later this month from New Directions. I’ve been a fan of Horacio’s ever since I read ...

Latest Review: "Adonis Selected Poems"

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Vincent Francone on Adonis’ Selected Poems, which Yale brought out not too long ago in Khaled Mattawa’s translation. Vincent Francone has written for us a few times in the past and is a reader for TriQuarterly Online, a site that should probably be on our ...

Cool Guardian Series

The Guardian is one of my favorite newspapers for any number of reasons, but I particularly like their series and their overall international focus. For instance, earlier this month they launched their New Europe Series, which features an in-depth look at four European countries: Germany, France, Spain, and Poland. (The ...

Festival of New French Writing

The Second Annual Festival of New French Writing kicks off this Thursday in NYC and will take place through Saturday afternoon. I’m actually moderating the first event and planning on attending most (if not all) of these, so I should be able to write this up in full all next week. In the meantime, here’s the ...

In the Age of Screens (A Prelude)

As I mentioned some time ago, I was invited to participate in this year’s Non-Fiction Conference sponsored and organized by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. This year’s focus was on “Quality Non-Fiction in the Digital Era,” so there were a number of presentations about new developments, the future ...

Open Letter Summer 2011 [Catalogs]

OK, so I didn’t get to writing up all the things I wanted to this week, but before taking off for Amsterdam and the Non-Fiction Conference (see next post), I thought I’d share our Summer 2011 catalog. With a little luck, I’ll highlight each of these next week, with excerpts and the like, but for now, ...

Let's Us Praise and Ponder Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Over the years, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s website has been a go-to for jokes about the disconnect between the publishing industry and how the Internet works. I really don’t think I can come up with enough insults about the total disfunction of HMH’s website. Basically, it looks like something an MBA put ...

Time to Get Your Twitter On [More Granta]

So, tomorrow morning at 9am East Coast time (which is 1400 GMT and 1500 Madrid time) we’re (meaning me, meaning Emily Davis, meaning staff from Granta) going to have a “Twitter Party” to discuss the “Best of Spanish-Language Novelists” issue, Spanish literature in general, translations, literary ...

International IMPAC Dublin Award 2011 Longlist [International Prizes, Take One]

So the 2011 longlist for the IMPAC Award was announced this morning, and includes 162 books from 43 countries. According to the press release 42 are titles in translation, covering 14 different languages. This is where I usually complain about the IMPAC’s website, the absurdity of a 162 book longlist, of the name of ...

Fake Poets, Falsely Translated [Promoting The Ambassador]

As some of you might know, Bragi Olafsson’s new book — The Ambassador — released a couple weeks back. It’s an incredibly fun book centering around the journey of Icelandic poet Sturla Jon Jonsson to poetry festival in Lithuania where he loses his overcoat, steals someone else’s, is accused of ...

NEA's Writers' Corner

This is cool . . . The NEA recently posted this page featuring links to samples from all the recipients of this year’s Translation Fellowships. Here’s just a sampling of the samples: Esther Allen’s translation from Zama by Antonio Di Benedetto (Spanish): The governor remitted an incomprehensible ...

Symposium on Literary Translation: Part One

This past weekend, the University of Western Sydney hosted a Symposium on Literary Translation featuring a ton of great speakers and interesting panels. Since I couldn’t be there—not only wasn’t I invited (sigh), but I was in Scranton for the very fun Pages & Places Festival—I asked Joel Scott to ...

Publishing Perspectives Editorial (Redux)

Because of how this was broken up over two weeks, and because I’m still recovering from my vacation in Ohio with my family, I thought I’d rerun the editorial I wrote for Publishing Perspectives. I’ll stick with the two-part format, since that pretty much makes sense, so here’s Part One: “What we ...

Ebooks and Numbers and Little Girls in Rochester Suburbs [Random Digital Stuff]

A number of interesting e-book related articles and news items came out over the past few days, and rather than try and make something coherent out of all this, I’m just going to post a smattering of links . . . So: The big news this week was Jeff Bezos’s announcement that Amazon.com is now selling more e-books ...

Where People Talk about Books

The other week, the first Future of Reading conference took place at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was a fantastic few days, very interesting, with a range of great speakers. Rather than summarize each panel or person, I want to try and explore a few of the topics that came up. A lot of these posts will be simply ...

What We Talk about When We Talk about the Future of Reading

The other week, the first Future of Reading conference took place at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was a fantastic few days, very interesting, with a range of great speakers. Rather than summarize each panel or person, I want to try and explore a few of the topics that came up. A lot of these posts will be simply ...

The Winter 2010 Open Letter Catalog

As some people have noticed, our new Winter 2010 catalog is now available and listed on the Open Letter website.. Totally biased, but I think this is one of our strongest seasons yet, what with Zone, the new Bragi Olafsson novel, the first of a million or so Juan Jose Saer books (one of my absolute favorites! If you ...

Foreign Policy and Translations

Foreign Policy may not be the first magazine you think of when you think of literature in translation, but Britt Peterson put together a really cool set of translation-centric features for the May/June issue. First off is a piece by Edith Grossman that’s related to her book Why Translation Matters: The dearth of ...

The 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Shortlist

I’m not entirely sure why—maybe it’s the absurdly long longlist, or the unparalleled eclecticism (re: poorly designed) of the prize’s website, or the fact that this prize is sponsored by the “World’s Leading Specialists in Management Productivity Improvement” (productivity improvement ...

Best Translated Book Award Winners [BTBA 2010]

Approximately five minutes, the winners of this year’s Best Translated Book Awards were announced at a special celebration at Idlewild Books in New York City. Hopefully the party is raging, and the winners are enjoying themselves . . . Competition was pretty steep for this year’s awards. The poetry committee ...

Preface to a Prologue of an Idea of a Thought (Part V)

While I’m tanning doing journalism at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, I thought it would be interesting to totally overload everyone on Macedonio Fernandez. Museum of Eterna’s Novel ranks right up there as one of the books that I’m most proud to be associated with. It’s unique, strange, ...

Preface to a Prologue of an Idea of a Thought (Part IV)

While I’m tanning doing journalism at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, I thought it would be interesting to totally overload everyone on Macedonio Fernandez. Museum of Eterna’s Novel ranks right up there as one of the books that I’m most proud to be associated with. It’s unique, strange, ...

Preface to a Prologue of an Idea of a Thought (Part III)

While I’m tanning doing journalism at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, I thought it would be interesting to totally overload everyone on Macedonio Fernandez. Museum of Eterna’s Novel ranks right up there as one of the books that I’m most proud to be associated with. It’s unique, strange, ...

BTBA 2010 Fiction Finalists: A Recap

A commenter asked the other day for links to all of the daily summaries for this year’s BTBA fiction finalists. Well, I’ll do you one better . . . Below are all ten shortlisted books with links to AND excerpts from the overview pieces: César Aira, Ghosts. Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews. ...

So Translation Is Having a Moment . . . (Part II)

When I was in New York last week for sales calls and publicity meetings (which is why the blog has been so slow . . . But I’m back! And excited about life, the BTBAs, books, and everything, so expect an onslaught of material for the next few days . . . ), everyone was all abuzz about the fact that the New Yorker ran an ...

"The Tanners" by Robert Walser [BTBA 2010 Fiction Longlist]

Over the next five weeks, we’ll be highlighting a book a day from the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist. Click here for all past write-ups. The Tanners by Robert Walser. Translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky. (Switzerland, New Directions) Thanks to New York Review Books, University of ...

2010 Best Translated Book Awards: Honorable Mention

Before jumping into the day-by-day look at each of the 25 titles on the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist I thought I’d post about a few of the books that didn’t make the list. It’s cliched to even say, but it really is difficult coming up with this list. Down to the final moment of voting, I was ...

Another Reason to Buy BTBA Books from Idlewild

On Tuesday when we announced the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist, we included links from each of the books to the Idlewild online catalog in hopes of directing some sales to our Indie Bookstore of the Month. As an added incentive, Idlewild has decided to offer 20% off all BTBA books. Here’s a post from ...

Mo Yan's "Frog"

Thanks to Paper Republic for pointing out this early English-language review of Frog, Mo Yan’s latest novel. The author of many novels, including Red Sorghum and The Republic of Wine, Mo Yan is one of the lucky Chinese writers who has been published in English translation, and it’s likely Frog will make ...

Genres, Tags, and Why Don't We Subcategorize Books?

Today’s piece in the New York Times on indie rock sub-categorization isn’t particularly interesting . . . although when you apply what’s been happening in music to the world of books, there are a few intriguing outcomes. The main thrust of Ben Sisario’s Times piece is that indie music has atomized ...

Winter Reading List

One of the best unexpected results of putting together the translation databases is being able to put together an awesome reading list of forthcoming translations. (Or, to put it in a slightly more negative light: to know about way more interesting books than I’ll ever have time to read.) The spring is a perfect ...

Jan/Feb 2010 Issue of World Literature Today

Michael Orthofer has complained in the past about the crappy format of World Literature Today online, and he’s absolutely right. WLT (along with the Review of Contemporary Fiction, another publication resisting the online world) is one of the most interesting magazines being published today concerned with international ...

Support CAT, Win Books

December isn’t all about gift getting, crowded shopping malls, uncomfortable family gatherings, and cookies—it’s also about year-end donations to worthy non-profit organizations such as the Center for the Art of Translation. As an added incentive, if you donate more than $5 to CAT, you’ll be entered ...

The Future of Latin American Fiction (Part IV)

To celebrate the recent release of Jorge Volpi’s Season of Ash, all this week we’re going to serialize a speech that Jorge gave this past summer on the Future of Latin American Fiction. And, as a special offer, for the next 20 people who subscribe to Open Letter—either a 5 book or 10 book ...

It's September–Time for a Translation Database Update

Since it’s the start of a new month, and since I’ve added a number of books since the last update, it seems like the perfect time to post updated versions of our Translation Database. To read the complete background on this database, and to access the updated files, simply click here. Or, click here for the 2008 ...

Selcuk Altun's Turkish Lit Recommendations

To mark the English-language release of Selcuk Altun’s new novel, Many and Many a Year Ago, The Guardian asked him to give a top 10 list of his favorite Turkish novels. Click the above link for all of his descriptions, but here’s the list with links to purchase English translations and a few of my comments: 1. ...

Center for the Art of Translation Blog

The Center for the Art of Translation in San Francisco has (finally?) started a weblog. It’s called Two Words, and Scott Esposito, who, you know, has some experience in the field, is running it. According to an e-mail they sent out yesterday: We’re eager to make the blog a resource for people who love ...

Anti-Fixed Book Price Essay

Generally speaking, I’m a fan of the “fixed book price agreement” that’s in place in a number of countries around the world. (At least 18, according to Wikipedia, aka America’s Best Source of Information.) I’ve mentioned a few times in posts here on Three Percent, always emphasizing the way ...

Translation Database–Fixed!

Thanks to everyone who pointed out how I screwed up the links to the latest versions of the 2008 and 2009 translation databases . . . Everything should be fixed now. And if you don’t feel like revisiting the original post, here are the correct links: 2008 Translations 2009 Translations Sorry it’s taken so ...

Calling All Infinite Jest Fans

Infinite Summer officially kicks off this week, with participants reading and discussing the first 63 pages of David Foster Wallace’s masterpiece, Infinite Jest. Covering approximately 75 pages a week (the entire reading schedule can be found here) , this group will read one of the longest novels of our generation by ...

Here's the Future? (Random BEA Thoughts, Part V)

Follow these links for Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV. If you’ve read the first four parts of this post (or this piece I wrote a few months ago), you pretty much know where this is headed. After X years of keeping BEA confined to the “trade,” I think things have to open up to the ...

We're Not Who We Think We Are (Random BEA Thoughts, Part IV)

Follow these links for Part I, Part II, and Part III. Over the past few years the debate between print and online reviewers has been one of the more contentious in all of the book business. Similar to publishing, this is an area where technology has outstripped the prevailing model, where with a couple bucks, a smart ...

Free Manga Porn Stuff (Random BEA Thoughts, Part III)

Follow these links for Part I and Part II. Over the past few years, the book industry has become much flatter, allowing many, many more people to enter into the business. For instance, the advent of self-publishing allows almost anyone to become an author and make their book available for sale. Blogs turn your voracious ...

Caine Prize for African Writing Finalists

The finalists for this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing (given to a short story from an African writer published in English) were announced earlier this week. Here are the five shortlisted pieces, with links to pdf versions of some of the stories: Mamle Kabu (Ghana) The End of Skill from Dreams, Miracles and ...

Paper Republic's List of Chinese Books to Publish

Thanks—in a somewhat roundabout way—to Arts Council England funding, I had the chance to meet with Eric Abrahamsen and Nikki Harman from Paper Republic at the London Book Fair. Paper Republic is one of the best online sources for information about Chinese literature, especially thanks to resources such as their ...

Another Interesting Job

I don’t want to get in the habit of posting too many job openings, but in this economy, I’m sure there are a lot of qualified people out there looking for positions just like this: Free Word DIRECTOR A groundbreaking new centre for literature, literacy and free expression, Free Word, will open in June ...

Harvard Crimson on Three — Yes, Three — Open Letter Titles

Last Thursday was “Open Letter Day” at the Harvard Crimson, as the university daily newspaper covered three new Open Letter books: The Mighty Angel by Jerzy Pilch, Death in Spring by Merce Rodoreda, and Landscape in Concrete by Jakov Lind. (Typically, these links would be to our Indie Bookstore of the Month, but ...

Some April Translations

For whatever reason, April is a huge month for literature in translation. According to the translation database there are 39 works of fiction and poetry coming out in translation this month. We will be running full-length reviews of a number of these titles, but over the course of the month, I thought I’d highlight the ...

The New Look Three Percent

As you probably noticed, we underwent a pretty significant redesign over the weekend. E.J. could explain this a lot better than I can, but basically, over the past two years, we’ve come to use the site is a slightly different way than initially conceived. When launched, we had no idea Three Percent would come to host ...

Belle E-books

A new, to me, take on e-books from if:book: [W]hat I’m getting at here is that the e-reader is being treated as though it is a viable vehicle for long-form writing, in a way that ignores the essential fact that long-form writing and reading is rooted in paper, and book manufacturing. So, back to the ...

April/May Bookforum

The new issue of Bookforum is now available online, and, as always, has some interesting pieces about some interesting works of international literature, including: William Giraldi’s review of Aharon Appelfeld’s Laish: “Being labeled a Holocaust writer might indeed irritate Appelfeld, but no living ...

Indies Choice Book Awards

OK, so the finalists for the 2009 Indies Choice Awards have been announced. The awards—voted on by American Booksellers Association members, with the winners announced at BookExpo—cover seven categories: Best Indie Buzz Book (fiction), Best Conversation Starter (nonfiction), Best Author Discovery (debut), Best New ...

Translation Journals

This started a while ago, but Rose Mary Salum of Entre los espacios has been interviewing a number of translation journals/magazines about issues of readership, editing, etc., with pretty interesting results. Each question is a separate post, so here are links to the four already online, along with a quote from one of the ...

Recent Reviews of The Pets

Bragi Olafsson’s The Pets came out a few months ago, but with Iceland and its overturned government in the news these days, it’s a pretty good time for reviews to be appearing . . . Just this week two new reviews came out, the first being Lara Tupper’s piece in The Believer, which puts Olafsson’s novel ...

Bookselling and Bloggers

In a post picking up on the whole “future of book reviewing” discussion, Kassia Krozser brings up a point that’s crossed my mind at times: Booksellers Should Hand-Sell on the Internet: One of the great things about new technology is that it opens up the conversation in multiple direction. [. . ...

Best Translated Book of 2008: Fiction Finalists

I think I speak for all the panelists when I say that this was a pretty difficult task. I think we all had 13-15 books that we felt deserved to be in the top 10 . . . But in the end, I think we came up with a very solid list. For additional info about any of these titles, click on the links below, or visit the pretty minisite ...

Best Translated Book 2008 Longlist: The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig

We’re into the home stretch now . . . For the next two days we’ll be highlighting a book-a-day from the 25-title Best Translated Book of 2008 fiction longlist, leading up to the announcement of the 10 finalists. Click here for all previous write-ups. The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig, translated ...

Open Letter and the Best Translated Book Award on Facebook

I know we should’ve done this sooner, but we just set up an Open Letter group and a Best Translated Book Award group on Facebook. So if you’re on Facebook, please join. (And feel free to invite all of your friends.) We don’t have much on the Open Letter site (yet), but on the BTB group there are cover ...

Obituary: Inger Christensen

Reclusive writer Inger Christensen who “built experimental poems, essays and novels around systematized and mathematical structures” passed away at the age of 73. One of the books of 2009 that I’m most looking forward to is her novel Azorno, which New Directions is bringing out this summer. But after ...

Best Translated Book 2008 Longlist: The Great Weaver from Kashmir by Halldor Laxness

For the next several weeks we’ll be highlighting a book-a-day from the 25-title Best Translated Book of 2008 fiction longlist, leading up to the announcement of the 10 finalists. Click here for all previous write-ups. The Great Weaver from Kashmir by Halldor Laxness, translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton. ...

Kafka's Office Writings

Recently released by Princeton University Press, Kafka’s Office Writings may well be the last of the last of the Kafka texts to appear in English. Kafka’s writings as a professional lawyer with the Workmen’s Accident Insurance Institute, may not seem to hold a lot of promise, but the description of the ...

Enrique Vila-Matas

Thanks to Conversational Reading for bringing Enrique Vila-Matas’s new website to our attention. In addition to the stylish photos, the site includes info about his books, a nice bio, and links to fifteen interviews. BTW: The site is only available in Spanish . . . ...

Joe Wikert's Bookstores vs. Online Series

Earlier this week Joe Wikert completed his six-part series of posts (this links to the final piece, which has links to the first five parts) about how brick-and-mortar bookstores could better compete with online retailers (aka Amazon.com). Taken as a whole, I’m not sure his suggestions would necessarily fix all the ...

Bob Stein's Unified Theory of Publishing

The other day, Bob Stein posted a really interesting article at If:Book about his so-called “unified theory of publishing” which tries to address these particular questions: What are the characteristics of a successful author in the era of the digital network? Ditto for readers: how do you account for ...

New FILI Newsletter

The latest newsletter from the Finnish Literature Exchange (the government sponsored organization dedicated to promoting Finnish lit worldwide) arrived yesterday and included a couple interesting article/links. First off, there have been a few additions to the Beginners’ Guide to Translation, which, to be honest, I ...

Publishing Rant

Over the weekend, the Huffington Post published Part 1 of an essay by Richard Laermer called “Why Book Publishing Is Dead.” Now, I’m one of the first people to jump on the bandwagon and criticize the publishing industry (or book industry as a whole) for it’s lack of innovation and odd practices. (As ...

Sony eReader vs. Amazon's Kindle

From Financial Times (free registration required—why does anyone do this anymore?): Sony launched the Reader in October 2006 with quite a fanfare. It is a light, book-sized gadget with a screen made by a technology company called E-Ink that is easier and more restful to read than a computer’s and needs no ...

Interview with Gilbert Alter-Gilbert

Over at A Journey Round My Skull, Will Schofield has a fascinating interview with the translator Gilbert Alter-Gilbert. Alter-Gilbert has translated a number of interesting authors, including Miguel Angle Asturias, Vincente Huidobro, Oliverio Girondo, Marie Redonnet, and Leopoldo Lugones. Since Alter-Gilbert is also a ...

Cool Idea for a Book Event

Over at The Valve there’s an interesting reading event taking place that could be a really cool model for future online book clubs. The book at the center of this event is Douglas Wolk’s very interesting Reading Comics. But it’s the structure of this “event” that got me intrigued. ...

WikiThing

Sara Kramer of NYRB emailed me about my microsite idea this morning, and pointed out something cool that I didn’t know about: WikiThing, which is the Wiki page of LibraryThing. In itself, maybe the WikiThing site isn’t that interesting for you, unless you’re into LibraryThing. However, there are a few ...

NPR Brings the Serious Book Coverage

Never in my life did I expect to see NPR do something like this: National Public Radio has expanded the book coverage on its website, adding weekly book reviews, and has hired six new book reviewers—including a graphic novel reviewer—and added more features to an already existing lineup of author podcasts, ...

Another Reason Ubuweb is So Cool

I really don’t check up on Ubuweb as often as I should . . . It’s only thanks to a link via Gary Westmoreland that I was able to find this fascinating documentary on Jorge Luis Borges. Here’s part of Orlando Archibeque’s review of the documentary: This documentary’s major strength (others ...

Book Publishing Manifesto for the 21st Century

Over the past week at The Digitalist — a blog by the digital team at Pan Macmillan — Sara Lloyd has been serializing her forthcoming Library Trends article on “how traditional publishers need to position themselves in the changing media flows of a networked era.” Taken as a whole, this is a really ...

More on IMPAC Shortlist

To follow up on last night’s brief post about the IMPAC Shortlist, be sure to check out the coverage at The Millions to find links to reviews of the books and/or interviews with the authors. (I wanted to do something similar, but this post is better than anything I would’ve come up ...

Africa Reading Challenge

Thanks to Scott Esposito for bringing our attention to the Africa Reading Challenge starting up at Siphoning Off a Few Thoughts. In recent years I’ve become increasingly interested in reading books dealing with Africa, and so I present the Africa Reading Challenge. Participants commit to read – in the ...

Lawrence Venuti on the Business of Publishing Translations

Literary Saloon pointed this out yesterday, but the new issue of Words Without Borders contains a fantastic article by Lawrence Venuti on the business of publishing translations. He wrote this essay for the Frankfurt Book Fair panel on To Be Translated or Not To Be (warning, that links to the entire report in pdf form), a ...

The Pirate Coelho

This is something I’d like to do, but I don’t know that we’d be able to get everyone to go along with it: But if I had known about The Pirate Coelho, a blog, established by the million-selling author himself, I might not have wasted my money on the Alchemist after all. You see, Coelho has been happily ...

Simone at 100

The Paris Blog salutes the 100th anniversary of the birth of Simone de Beauvoir, collecting several links to some interesting content (mostly in French) about the author, including some excellent old video ...

Obituary: Christian Bourgois

One of France’s most interesting publishers passed away last week. As the director of his eponymous publishing house, Christian Bourgois published a slew of influential world authors, including Roberto Bolaño, Ernst Jünger, Antonio Lobo Antunes, and Enrique Vila-Matas. The Literary Saloon has links to a couple of ...

Omega Minor in Time Europe

Nice to see Omega Minor getting some play. The feature is pretty interesting, and Morrison does a nice job summarizing the novel and its merits: Omega Minor has now finally arrived in the U.S. and Britain, the first of Verhaeghen’s three novels to be translated into English. Critics are comparing him to such German ...

The Opening Session in Miami — Gloomy, Yet Optimistic

For those who aren’t familiar with the Miami Book Fair International, it’s the brainchild of Mitchell Kaplan, one of the smartest booksellers in America, and owner of Books and Books. The fair is one of the largest and liveliest in America and started in 1984 with the mission to “promote reading, encourage ...

E-book follow-on

There were a couple of news items this weekend that are related to my e-book rant of the other day, and which shed a bit more light on the ‘why don’t we give it away’ argument. In The Guardian, Jon Evans tells us why he gives away his books online: Why? Because to quote the publisher Tim ...

The e-book conundrum

Andrew Hon of Mssv tested out Sony’s e-book reader, and pointed to an article in The Bookseller about the future of digital books. Hon didn’t fancy the Sony reader so much, (“It’s a bit of a mess…and at $350, it’s not worth it”) except that if you ditch the Sony software and load up some ...

The World's Best Untranslated Novels

I’m not sure these are the absolute best, but New York polled a number of experts and came up with a list of recommended titles from around the world that have yet to appear in English. Some of the recommended books include Daniel Sada’s Porque Parece Mentira la Verdad Nunca Se Sabe, which is a title I’ve ...

The Sealines Project

The Sealines Project from Literature Across Frontiers “links six European port cities with a tradition of literary bilingualism through a series of writers’ and artists’ residencies. The cities involved are four capitals: Cardiff, Helsinki, Riga and Valletta, and two regional ports: Galway on the West Coast ...

Nabokov, Cornell and La Rochefoucauld

Anecdotal Evidence on Nabokov, Cornell and La Rochefoucauld, who may have once owned the Unicorn Tapestries. If you haven’t picked up La Rochefoucauld’s Maxims, you should do so right away. Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have ...