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The Books You Read, the Books You Ban

2015/8/15 — 12:33

【Text by Patty Nash】

This week's literary highlights from across the world.

Hope you’re enjoying what’s now—or about to be—the second half of August. For our readers in the United States, that might include a road trip, and what’s more American than a jaunt on the Interstate, as in Vladimir Nabokov’s famed Lolita? Over at the Literary Review, Nabokov falls for America. Or just stay at home, invite friends, open a bottle of wine, and chitchat about your latest favorite read—somehow. What, even, is the social function of the novel?

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In Ukraine, that dinner conversation might include a list of books that no one around the table has read—as the country’s recently released a list of 38 banned books, all of which hail from Russian publishers and are deemed “hate” books. The whole thing is rather suspect, especially coupled with news that a Russian publisher has released several pro-Putin tomes using Western-sounding names.

In Japan, everyone’s favorite Nobel point of speculation/runner/baseball fan/novelist Haruki Murakami has published an eight-part e-book release of responses to the questions he had been asked in a crowdsourced,massively hyped advice column earlier this year. Italian anonymous phenom Elena Ferrante is of a slightly different slant when it comes to self-promotion, perhaps: before publishing her debut novel, Troubling Love, in 1991, she “made a small bet” with herself that “books, once they are published, have no need of their authors.” But we’re frothing at the mouth to meet you!

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Trivia—more or less. You may have read French surrealist Mallarmé in the English translation (which one?), but have you read English in Mallarmé, Peter Manson’s erasurist, collaborative response? And have you wondered what the great English bard William Shakespeare may have been or possibly was smoking?

Finally, if your novel isn’t taking off yet, blame the trailer. You just don’t find them like this anymore.

 

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