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by Leo Tolstoy
The meanest thing Kingsley Amis ever did to a woman was to put Margaret Peele in that green paisley dress and “quasi-velvet” shoes in Lucky Jim.
The strange euphemism “Prisoner of War” eventually comes to describe every character in the book.
I've found myself subconsciously pairing Sochi's absurdities with their analogues from the canon of Russian literature. And as I've come to learn, the Russian masters saw the writing on the wall well before the Olympic torch made its way to the Black Sea's coast.
Our conspicuous (and often unnecessary) tech consumption — eReaders included — contributes to an inflating carbon footprint far beyond anything ever caused by traditional book production.
“Inventing a character in order to understand historical facts is like fabricating evidence. Or rather, it’s like planting false proof at a crime scene where the floor is already strewn with incriminating evidence.”
My son has a long way to go until he’s reading The Brothers Karamazov, but hopefully not so long that he forgets about Stinking Lizaveta before he gets there. I hope I’ll be near at hand, or only a phone call away, when he discovers that the funny name we used to whisper to each other is actually a very sad character in a great novel, and that the line between life and art is arbitrary, if it exists at all.
The novel takes us places we don’t want to go, but does so with a humane insistence we find impossible to resist.
When do we, as writers, accept that a piece is as good as it will ever be, even if it’s not that great? When do we decide that a piece will never be good enough to be published?
...and some other observations of doubtful critical merit.
The Cookbook Collector’s literary elegance is part of what made the book invisible to a broad public, while Franzen’s roaring crassness is part of what made his book such a smash. He’s just a lot louder than she is.
A financial meltdown post-mortem graduates to the Hall of Fame and a Booker shortlister debuts.
There is no doubt that reading this book at home in New York, riding the train and before bed, would be memorable, but reading it here in Granada, covering some of the same ground as these characters, makes it lasting.
You know who grabbed the top spot, but which other two literary superstars made a splash on The Millions' list in August?
Dream of the Red Chamber's doomed lovers, Jia Bao-yu and Lin Dai-yu, are as iconic in China as Romeo and Juliet are in the West. It's also notable for its staggering length. At about twenty-eight hundred pages, the book is about twice as long as my copy of War and Peace.
Sometimes I wish I were that man in the Twilight Zone episode who finds himself in the ruins of a public library, with lots of food and all the time in the world to read all the books he wants.
Dozens of books that you'll want to be reading for the rest of the year and into the next. Dig in!
With four books heading to the Hall of Fame, that means we have four new books landing on the list, ranging from hard-boiled Scandinavian thrillers to historical fiction in 18th century Japan to a 12-year-old literary biography with a twist.
Tinkers debuts and The Corrections graduates. Plus, a controversial new number one.
Franzen stays on top. Sebald to the Hall of Fame. Tolstoy debuts.
Perhaps all those years of reading adventure stories had given me a vocabulary of action, a means to save my father’s life, as if I’d been preparing, through books, for those charged moments without knowing it.
David Mitchell graduates to the Hall of Fame, Michael Lewis debuts, and we have a new number one.
One somewhat disquieting effect of reading War and Peace is that the more your own thoughts show up in its pages, the less original your life begins to feel.
By way of starting a conversation about the ideal marriage of text and transportation, we've asked our contributors and readers to make reading recommendations for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
Reading War and Peace, there is the sense of beginning one of the great experiences one might have in a lifetime. It is an enervating feeling, but also a melancholy one.
A Tale of Two Cities contains all the hallmarks of the Victorian tearjerker. I was riveted from the first--or, perhaps, the second--sentence--and I wept over the last.
There is at least as much intuition as intention in the process. A good translator has to follow that process far more consciously than the writer and yet come as close as possible in the new language to the instinctive "rightness" of the original. The greater the writer, the closer you want to come. That is both the challenge and the joy of it.
The F-Word is a must for anyone interested in the most notorious of English obscenities. This book makes me proud to be a part of a civilization that could produce such a thing.