Welcome to the weekly Vox book link roundup, a curated collection of the internet’s best writing on books and related subjects. Here’s the best the web has to offer for the week of April 15, 2018.
- Jhumpa Lahiri, who won the Pulitzer in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, moved to Rome a few years ago to begin writing in Italian. She talked to the Paris Review about the process of translating Italian novels into English:
Right now, I feel like my creative project is translation. It’s just constant reading and rereading, on such a deep level. If you’re reading anything at that depth, it brings this deep nourishment, linguistically and technically. When I see how Domenico deals with something—say, indirect discourse. Or, How does he deal with time? How does he deal with description? To plow through this new territory—it’s very invigorating for me.
- In more recent Pulitzer news, Andrew Sean Greer won this week for his novel Less. At LitHub, he’s created a list of novels he planned to write but never did:
Wow was I feeling bleak. Apparently I applied to work on a novel about an America in which the sun had, for unknown reasons, suddenly gone out. I even spoke with a climatologist at Berkeley to learn how the lack of sun would affect plant life, bird life, etc. But of course I was most interested in how human life would cope in constant darkness, and my idea, naturally, was that we would lose our humanity and turn on each other.
- At the Washington Post, Ron Charles points out that Less is one of very few comic novels to win a Pulitzer in the recent past:
“A comic novel” has become a suspect designation, as though creating laughter were some sub-craft, like decoupage. We used to know better. Shakespeare’s comedies are as classic as his tragedies. The light that humor shines on the human condition may be a different frequency, but it’s just as illuminating as its calamitous twin.
- At Atlas Obscura, Sarah Laskow goes deep on the history of the girdle book:
Girdle books had to be small, and they had to be light. From the bottom edges of their bindings extended an length [sic] of leather, usually gathered into a knot at the end. This extension of the cover could be used to carry the book like a purse or could be tucked into a girdle or belt. To read, the owner wouldn’t even have to detach the book; when taken up, the book would be oriented correctly, just as if it had been pulled from a shelf.
- Nicole Kidman is slated to develop and star in a film adaptation of The Female Persuasion. Because when you’re casting a character who causes everyone around her to remark endlessly over her beauty and charisma, you cast Nicole Fucking Kidman.
- James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, hasn’t drawn quite the crowds that Fire and Fury did, CNN reports:
“There are more cameras here than people,” one person joked.
Another journalist asked the room: “Is anyone a normal person or is everyone a journalist?”
Only one person -- reluctantly -- identified himself as a “normal person.”
”I wanted to see it for myself and read it, especially after Comey’s ABC interview. I’m more curious now,” said Matthew Hoeck, who was immediately approached by a handful of reporters in the room.
- But that doesn’t mean Comey’s book won’t sell well. CNN also reports that since Fire and Fury in January, every book at the top of the New York Times’ hardcover nonfiction best-seller list has been about Trump. A Higher Loyalty is expected to continue the trend.
- PBS has revealed its list of America’s 100 most-loved books, so now Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged has the great honor of sharing a list with Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear.