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Top Book Blogs 03/2013

[Guardian Books Blog] The Ramayana's epic journey into the digital world | Daljit Nagra
This ancient tale has resonated down the centuries, and the British Library's digitisation sees it finding a new home in the 21st centuryThe Ramayana I knew as a child was the Punjabi version my parents told me during Diwali. We had no books at home – my immigrant family was largely illiterate –

[The Millions] Writing with a Burning Quill: On Pakistani Fiction
The idea of Pakistan instantly conjures clichéd headlines and images: angry bearded men protesting, and questions about how Osama Bin Laden managed to hide in the country. Over the past decade, the discourse on Pakistan has been stuck in a time warp: a nuclear weapon-armed country on the perpetual

[Guardian Books Blog] Authoring a rejection of acceptance-speech cliché
Shalom Auslander tore up the etiquette book as he picked up a literary prize earlier this week. But he's not the first writer to go off-script ...The judges can hardly have been surprised by a YouTube acceptance speech glinting with ill grace, after awarding the Wingate Jewish Quarterly prize to

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Can criminal law do without moralism?
America's shift to longer prison terms

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: What's left of the left?
You can't divorce fiery emotions from the politics of revolution

[The Millions] It’s Bracket Season
The Morning News Tournament of Books is almost here, and to stoke our excitement, the editors drew up this neat-looking circular bracket. If you squint at the top left, you’ll see our own Edan Lepucki, who’s judging The Round House by Louise Erdrich and The Fault in our Stars by John

[Guardian Books Blog] A brief survey of the short story part 47: Machado de Assis
Still neglected by English readers, the Brazilian writer is one of the very greatest of the early modern eraThe Brazilian Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis is, to English-language readers, perhaps the most obscure of world literature's great short-story writers. Producing work between 1869 and 1908,

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: One of the dangers
The assumption in certain sections

[The Millions] Style-Elements
A question that plagues American writers: how would the lit world be different if everybody followed the rules in The Elements of Style? The answer: it would look like this. Related posts: A Stew of Laziness: Ben Affleck’s The Town and the Elements of Bad Drama I find with bad movies that

[Guardian Books Blog] Reader reviews roundup
Headlining this week's pick of your readings are Life of Pi and Ian McEwan's Enduring LoveIn the wake of its film's success at the Oscars on Sunday, Yann Martel's "incredibly moving and thought provoking tale" Life of Pi, this week received further praise from NickVirk. Pi, the novel's hero, has a

[NYT] Robert A. Caro, Ben Fountain Among National Book Critics Circle Winners
Mr. Caro won his third Book Critics Circule award for the fourth volume in his life of Lyndon B. Johnson.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: On front line of diplomacy
High time to end our diplomatic spoils system

[The Millions] Picture a Conflict
Bring Back the Illustrated Book! vs. The Illustrated Book: It Never Went Away! (Bonus: our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s novella has a cameo in the latter.) Related posts: The Very Picture of Guilt If the prospect of dealing with Frankenstorm is harshing your... Pictures of You For those of you

[NYT] Book Review Podcast: The Bully Problem
Emily Bazelon discusses her new book, "Sticks and Stones," about the culture of bullying.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: From the ground up
An example for the production

[Salon Books] Pakistan: Not just India’s unhinged sister
You Think You Know PakistanWhen you think of Pakistan, acclaimed literary fiction is not your first thought. You’re thinking of the ubiquitous nation of 180 million that bleeds daily and leads sensationalist headlines declaring it the world’s “most dangerous place,” a title often 

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: The two sexes
Power to effect sex equality

[The Millions] Based on a True Story
Jon Methven (of This Is Your Captain Speaking) has a problem: one of his characters trashed his novel on Amazon. Related posts: Äppärät-chic: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story Make no mistake. Super Sad True Love Story boasts two... Constraint-Based Poetry: Round Two I didn’t

[NYT] Graphic Books Best Sellers: Batman Battles the Owls
"Batman: Night of Owls" is No. 1 on the hardcover list.

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Straight talk
An imaginative approach to the idea

[The Millions] Moonlighting as Ian Fleming
It’s rare that you find someone as eclectic as William Boyd. Not only did the British writer’s new play (based on two of Chekhov’s short stories) debut in London this week, his upcoming novel will star none other than James Bond. (If you’re wondering, his friend Daniel Craig is

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Caste and Left politics in India
Brahmanical virtue as a qualification for public office

[The Millions] A Model of Quiet Dissent
“Born Guan Moye, he chose his pen name—“Don’t Talk”—to honor his mother’s caution against talking too much and in sardonic recognition of his failure to heed her warning. Yet I have been struck by his quiet and unassuming presence at literary conferences in Beijing, where he offered

[Book Forum] OMNIVORE: Internet behaviors
Privacy and anonymity are being violated online

[Lit Saloon] Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist
       Next week the 25-title-strong longlist for the (US) Best Translated Book Award (I'm one of the judges) will be announced, and it's always fun to compare that with the (UK) Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, which has now announced its longlist -- not at the

[Lit Saloon] Finnish (tiny) boom !
       Via Books from Finland I learn of Lola Rogers' piece, Finnish Literature in English: A Tiny Boom at the Finnish-English Literary Translation Cooperative -- and the first thing I have to ask is how did I not know there was a Finnish-English Literary

[Lit Saloon] 'Literary' agents in ... China
       In China Daily Mei Jia offers an appropriately muddled and confused article claiming Literary agents open new chapter in China.        There's Nobel laureate Mo Yan announcing that: "his daughter Guan Xiaoxiao has full

[Lit Saloon] March issues of online periodicals
       Among the March issues of online periodicals now available is Words without Borders' Spain's Great Untranslated-themed issue -- which also includes some 'Writing from Syria' -- and the March issue of Open Letters Monthly.

[Lit Saloon] Profile: Jurji Zaydan
       At M. Lynx Qualey profiles historical novel-writer Jurji Zaidan (Zaydan), in Educating and Entertaining the Public.        The only Zaydan title under review at the complete review is Tree of Pearls, Queen of

[Lit Saloon] Profile: Ruth Rendell
       In The Guardian Alison Flood profiles Ruth Rendell: a life in writing.        None of her books are under review at the complete review, but I've read close to two dozen and almost always found her to offer reliably good

[Salon Books] Are you SBNR (spiritual but not religious)?
Having hung out with church folk for several decades, I have come to expect the words “spiritual but not religious” to be accompanied by air quotes and a tone of disdain. But lately, even non-religious folk have begun to hate on the SBNR. One recent scientific study draws a link between mental

[The Millions] “Moby Ick’s more like it.”
“Selections from One-Star Amazon Reviews of Melville’s Moby-Dick“ Related posts: Moby-Dick In Pictures Today is Herman Melville‘s birthday. This October, Tin House will... Why Read Moby Dick? Nathaniel Philbrick answers the question Why Read Moby-Dick: “the level...

[Salon Books] Fiction: “Double Take” by Jessica Francis Kane
Six weeks after his college roommate died, Ben thought he saw him in London: the square jaw and pale skin, the round eyes and devilish grin. But it was only a stranger in the crowd on Oxford Street. In the weeks that followed, Ben saw lots of people who reminded him of Mike. It seemed the city was

[The Millions] “And then later how we were terrible again”
Recommended Reading: Guernica’s excerpt from Matt Bell’s upcoming novel A Dark Tower Opening. Related posts: Encountering an Enfant Terrible It’s 1957. You’re Truman Capote. Your editor at The New... The Game’s Afoot: The Case of the Mystery Genre’s Terrible Secret The biggest

[The Millions] The Horror of Pharmacy, the Horror of Trains
Nathaniel Rich, who seems to have endured his 47-hour train trip without descending into madness, describes one of his favorite historical attractions in New Orleans: the Pharmacy Museum. “There are few things in life more terrifying than antiquated medical devices,” he writes. Related posts: A

[The Millions] Barrelhouse to Start Paying
Beginning with issue 12, Barrelhouse will start paying contributors. Prepare your submissions, everybody. Related posts: Start Something New A Betsy Lerner follower asks Betsy what to do when... Canadians Paying Steep Prices for New Books Book hoarder that I am, I tend to buy most... On Reviewers,

[The Millions] Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s Love Stories
“[Ludmilla] Petrushevskaya doesn’t write about isolated acts of depravity; she writes about universal ones,” says Michael Robbins in his review of There Once Lived a Girl. “What’s scary about her narratives is their implication that only the thinnest film, which might rip at any

[Salon Books] Finally! A nuanced look at hookup culture
This hookup book is not like the others. Want to see either casual sex or committed relationships portrayed as inherently good or bad? You will be sorely disappointed. The same goes for if you expect young men or young women to be chastised for abandoning traditional values. Instead, Leslie C.

[Lit Saloon] 'Translating or transcending'
       In The Hindu Mariam Karim-Ahlawat finds 'Translation creates empathy and understanding between cultures, but only when we are ready to acknowledge and value the differences', in Translating or transcending.

[Lit Saloon] A.B.Yehoshua on The Retrospective
       In the Wall Street Journal A.B.Yehoshua introduces his new novel, The Retrospective, with The Limits of Imagination.

[The Millions] Extremely Ephemeral Fiction
Andrew Fitzgerald wants to write “extremely timely fiction, nearly ephemeral.” He wants to write “a story not just set in the present, but set in this very week.” However in order to do that, he’s going to need our help. Check out his full write-up of A March Story on Medium, and then

[The Millions] Florida’s Poet Laureate
David Axelrod makes the case for Florida to establish a four-year, renewable position as state poet laureate. With any luck, the program could begin by June 1. Florida has been absent a state poet since Edmund Skellings passed away in August, 2012 Related posts: Trethewey Named Poet Laureate You

[Bookslut] Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death: Reflections on Memory and Imagination by Otto Dov Kulka, translated by Ralph Mandel
von kulka otto landscapes of the metropolis of death

[The Millions] Sink Review
Recommended Reading: Sink Review. Related posts: Sink Your Teeth Into These Reads Carolyn Kellogg rounded up a great list of “Terrible Beach... From Sink Hole to Surface: Belle Boggs’ Mattaponi Queen In Mattaponi Queen gallows humor proves necessary, and often one... Lorin Stein Named Editor

[Bookslut] I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits
markovits anouk i am forbidden

[Bookslut] Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau, translated by Barbara Wright
queneau raymond exercises in style

[The Millions] Coffee House to Publish Essays and Nonfiction
“Coffee House Press is pleased to announce that in addition to literary fiction and poetry, the nonprofit press will add essay collections and creative nonfiction to their publishing program.” Related posts: Melville House’s Hybrid Books Emily Witt checks out Melville House’s new

[Bookslut] The Forbidden Kingdom by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, translated by Paul Vincent
slauerhoff jan jacob forbidden kingdom the

[Bookslut] For example, armor.
For example, armor. Dragon Skin overlaps its silicon carbide ceramic scales like old chain mail. You can buy "battle-ready" chain mail on the Internet. A copy of a 1610 trooper's breastplate (not chain mail but a single hammered sheet) will...

[The Millions] Sundog Lit’s Games Issue
Sundog Lit is putting together their first theme issue, and it’s going to be all about “Games” of all types: video games, baseball games, Game of Thrones, etc… Fittingly, their guest editor for this issue will be Level End author Brian Oliu. Submission deadline is June 1st. If you need a

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