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  • We’re all familiar with the Grimm-style fairy tales, with their evil stepmothers and imperiled princesses. But a new collection of 19th century Bavarian folk tales has been discovered, edited, and now released in English for the first time, and they’re darker, dirtier, and involve more gender-bending than the Grimm tales. Salon talks with the tales’ translator, Maria Tatar, about their history, importance, and “the surprising ways they upend our long-standing notions of the roles of heroes and heroines in some of Europe’s oldest and most popular stories.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Someone asked me what I was doing in my 10‑year break,” says Kazuo Ishiguro with a boyish chuckle. “And I thought: yes, there has been a 10-year break since my last novel, but I personally haven’t been taking a 10‑year break!” The Telegraph talks with Ishiguro about his new novel and the first he’s published since Never Let Me Go, The Buried Giant.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “One of the things I like about my job is that it draws on the entire person: not just your knowledge of grammar and punctuation and usage and foreign languages and literature but also your experience of travel, gardening, shipping, singing, plumbing, Catholicism, Midwesternism, mozzarella, the A train, New Jersey. And in turn it feeds you more experience. The popular image of the copy editor is of someone who favors rigid consistency. I don’t usually think of myself that way. But, when pressed, I do find I have strong views about commas.” Mary Norris‘s “Confessions of a Comma Queen,” from the New Yorker.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “I didn’t really understand what reading was for. If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions—lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible—then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself, so that it hardly seemed to me that she was reading it out of a book at all; it was something she had created herself, out of thin air…  But one summer I had the whooping-cough, and afterwards I could not go swimming or jump off the beams in the barn or boss my little brother, because by that time he had the whooping-cough himself. My grandmother was off somewhere, visiting other cousins. So I swung on my swing until I got dizzy, and then for no reason in particular I took the Child’s History out of the bookcase in the front room, and sat down on the floor and started to read.” Alice Munro writes about A Child’s History of England, the first book she ever read.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • This week in book-related infographics, round 2: Lapham’s Quarterly takes a look at the day jobs of famous authors, among them T.S. Eliot, who was responsible for processing reports on German debt, and Charlotte Bronte, who had laundry fees deducted from her pay. Pair with our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s essay on “Working the Double Shift” and “all the strangely varied occupations that a person accumulates when the primary objective is not to establish a career, per se, but just to pay the rent while they’re working on a novel.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Recommended listening: David Naimon interviews Sarah Gerard, author of Binary Star, about “anorexia and astronomy, stars and bodies.” Pair with Alex Norcia‘s Millions review of Gerard’s novel here.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “How is it possible that a smallish army of discerning readers agree that Jim Harrison is one of the few truly great living American writers, yet he has not gotten the wider audience—or the widespread praise—he so plainly deserves?” Our own Bill Morris has some theories.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “It’s the marriage of one kind of darkness to another… the black storm cloud of Neel’s pen is well suited to Dostoyevsky’s questions of God, reason, and doubt.” On Alice Neel‘s illustrations for The Brothers Karamazov, from The Paris Review.  Pair with our own Kevin Hartnett’s much lighter take on the novel, “Reading The Brothers Karamazov: Even a Toddler Knows a Funny Name When He Hears One.”


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • This week in book-related infographics: “A Plotting of Fiction Genres” from Electric Lit.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “‘So your idea is to drive across America and write about it without talking to a single American?’ ‘Yes.'” Karl Ove Knausgaard travels North America as “a tongue-in-cheek Tocqueville” for the New York Times Magazine.  Pair with his piece for The Millions, “The View from My Window is a Constant Reminder,” and with Jonathan Callahan‘s reading of Knausgaard’s My Struggle.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • “Be patient – even with chaos.” Advice for the upcoming writer from Lydia Davis.


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    ~Kaulie Lewis
  • Over the past fifteen years, Mohsin Hamid has moved from New York, to London, and to Lahore, Pakistan, with stints in Italy and Greece. His new book, which came out yesterday, is a series of essays about his odyssey across the world, chronicling his observations and experiences that led him to move. At Bookforum, a review by Jake Lamar.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith