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A new book will help you cook like Hannibal (minus the people)

hannibal II

The literary #discourse is going strong this month, no? I can barely turn around without falling over a think piece about whether or not it was okay to doxx Elena Ferrante or whether Bob Dylan counts as a poet. But for you, best beloveds, I have curated only the best of these think pieces. Here’s the best the internet has to offer on books and related topics for the week of October 10, 2016:

I could be an Igbo writer, a west African writer, a Nigerian writer, a black writer, or even a Nebraskan writer. But suppose I’m asked to select a particular audience and write for them as some writers claim they do. Then who will this audience be? Will it be the people of Nigeria? If so, why? Why am I thinking in terms of national borders? Do I even believe they exist? Nigeria, to me, is a foreign idea, which, as I have consistently maintained, needs to be rethought. Can one pick and choose what one wants to accept from the fallout of colonisation?

“Is Bob Dylan great?” is not a parallel question to “Does he deserve the Nobel Prize in Literature?” As an editor at Pitchfork, I am well aware of the value and power of music, yet it was still somewhat shocking — even disappointing — to see that Dylan had won this year’s prize. His work, certainly, is monumental. His words changed songwriting — culture, even. And he has been awarded for that repeatedly in appropriate forums — with Grammys, an Oscar, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But he is a musician, and his relationship with words is as a lyricist, someone whose prose exists inexorably with music.

  • At LitHub, Scott Esposito has compiled a list of 10 books we cannot read — for a number of different reasons — but want to:

The Voynich Manuscript

A bizarre illustrated book that has been situated as from Northern Italy in the early 15th century, and which is named for the Polish book dealer who bought it in 1912. Composed in a language nobody has ever yet been able to read, it is a work that belongs to the future. All attempts to decode the Voynich Manuscript have proven futile; said futility has prompted speculation that the writing is meaningless, or hides meaning amid mostly meaningless characters (although statistical analysis has suggested that the markings in the Manuscript are consistent with those found in natural languages).

We women should spend about 20 per cent of our time on men, because it's fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff.

I just want to say that I think that this outing or unmasking of Ferrante was unnecessary, totally unnecessary, and a somewhat vindictive invasion of the author’s privacy.

In France, revealing Ms. Ferrante’s identity was generally seen as rude, not sexist.

“It’s a bit as if a GoPro camera had been installed in Salinger’s garden at his house in Cornish, New Hampshire, to show us the recluse while he watered his geraniums,” the French daily Libération wrote of that reclusive novelist. In France, where two of the four Neapolitan novels have been released since last year and became best sellers, people are strong believers in the idea of a “jardin secret” (a secret garden), or private lives.

Happy reading!