Photographer Bryan David Griffith toured the country last summer, documenting indie bookstores & talking to the people who work there. “The Last Bookstores” is the photo series that resulted. Photos of 57th Street start at slide 54!
“I had scarcely begun when I realized that what I had here at the very least was the Great American Novel. I sent off the first 150 pages to [agent Bernice Baumgarten] and hung around the post office for the next two weeks. At last an answer came. It read as follows: ‘Dear Peter, James Fenimore Cooper wrote this 150 years ago, only he wrote it better, Yours, Bernice.’ On a later occasion, when as a courtesy I sent her the commission on a short story sold in England, she responded unforgettably: ‘Dear Peter, I’m awfully glad you were able to get rid of this story in Europe, as I don’t think we’d have had much luck with it here. Yours, Bernice.’ Both these communications, quoted in their entirety, are burned into my brain forever—doubtless a salutary experience for a brash young writer. I never heard an encouraging word until the day Bernice retired, when she called me in and barked like a Zen master, ‘I’ve been tough on you because you’re very, very good.’ I wanted to sink down and embrace her knees.”
Peter Matthiessen, on his first novel.
Hablas español? Nihongo o hanamasuka? Pratar du svenska? Congrats if you do, but no matter if you don’t thanks to the efforts of the most criminally under-appreciated class of craftsmen & women: the literary translators. But luckily Three Percent honors these brave crossers of language barriers annually via their Best Translated Book Award. This year, authors from 20 different countries and writing in 16 languages were honored. Congrats to all, and we eagerly await the announcement of the shortlist & winner!
Complete list below; click here for ordering info: http://www.semcoop.com/best-translated-longlist
"Horses of God" by Mahi Binebine, translated from the French by Lulu Norman (Morocco; thetinhouse)
"Blinding" by Mircea Cartarescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Romania; archipelagobooks)
"Textile" by Orly Castel-Bloom, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu (Israel; thefeministpress)
"Sleet" by Stig Dagerman, translated from the Swedish by Steven Hartman (Sweden; David R. Godine)
"The Story of a New Name" by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy; europaeditions)
"Tirza" by Arnon Grunberg, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett (Netherlands; Open Letter Books)
"Her Not All Her" by Elfriede Jelinek, translated from the German by Damion Searls (Austria; sylpheditions)
"My Struggle: Book Two" by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Norway; archipelagobooks)
"Seiobo There Below" by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet (Hungary; newdirectionspublishing)
"Autobiography of a Corpse" by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull (Ukraine; NYRB)
"The Missing Year" of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor (Argentina; New Vessel Press)
"The Infatuations" by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain; randomhouse)
"A True Novel" by Minae Mizumura, translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters (Japan; otherpress)
"In the Night of Time" by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman (Spain; hmhbooks)
"The African Shore" by Rodrigo Rey Rosa, translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Gray (Guatemala; yalepress)
"Through the Night" by Stig Sæterbakken, translated from the Norwegian by Seán Kinsella (Norway; Dalkey Archive)
"Commentary" by Marcelle Sauvageot, translated from the French by Christine Schwartz Hartley & Anna Moschovakis (France; uglyducklingpresse)
"Leg Over Leg: Vol. 1" by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies (Lebanon; nyupress)
"The Whispering Muse" by Sjón, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (Iceland; fsgbooks)
"The Forbidden Kingdom" by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent (Netherlands; Pushkin Press)
"The Devil’s Workshop" by Jáchym Topol, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker (Czech Republic; Portobello Books)
"The End of Love" by Marcos Giralt Torrente, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (Spain; McSweeney’s)
"Red Grass" by Boris Vian, translated from the French by Paul Knobloch (France; Tam Tam Books)
"City of Angels, or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud" by Christa Wolf, translated from the German by Damion Searls (Germany; fsgbooks)
"Sandalwood Death" by Mo Yan, translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt (China; University of Oklahoma Press)
George Orwell in 1984. Happy 30th birthday to Winston Smith’s diary
Happy National Poetry Month! We’re celebrating with a showcase of some of our favorite presses, who put out a whole lot of stuff worth reading — from classics to edgy new collections — & look great doing it.
This photo of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre was taken in 1929 – the year the two philosophers first met – at the Porte d’Orléans fairground in Paris. The photo is, according to Open Culture (via the French blog Avec Beauvoir) the first photo the couple took together. Sartre and Beauvoir would maintain a romantic and open relationship for the rest of their lives.
Author, Chicagoan, & weather prophet Nelson Algren would be 105 years old today!
Do you like books? Do you like punch?! ARE YOU FREE NEXT MONDAY 3/31 AT 7PM? Just say yes and join us at the venerable Punch House for an evening of literary delight with D. Foy (dfoyble), Ben Tanzer, and Susan Hope Lanier.
Read more about and/or order books:
For a limited time (i.e., while supplies last) you can call us 57th Street Books & RECORDS. Thanks to nytyrant and fatpossumrecords our stock now includes this book/7” limited edition package. Gathered together in shrink wrap, you’ll find Scott McClanahan’s Hill William (SIGNED!), his band Holler Boy’s record, and an audiobook download. This is not something you “want.” This is something you NEED.
In honor of Flannery O’Connor, who was born on this day in 1925, here are some of her thoughts on the joys and perils of reading and writing.
I write to discover what I know.
Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.
People without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them.
The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.
Part of a collection by Nadine Boughton:
Here is a collision of two worlds: men’s adventure magazines or “sweats” meets Better Homes and Gardens. These photocollages are set against the backdrop of the McCarthy era, advertising, sexual repression, WWII and the Korean War. The cool, insular world of mid-century modern living glossed over all danger and darkness, which the heroic male fought off in every corner.
How about a caption contest?
A recreation of the climactic battle from The Way of Kings, done entirely in Lego
Let’s be honest: this is pretty boss.