A new, weekly summary of some interesting stories from the world of literature and publishing.
Criticism to literature is what pornography is to love: "Beauty is surely the defining property of literature — but what can criticism do with it? Doesn’t it invariably leave beauty to one side like a pile of indigestible fibers?"
"You are 5 times more likely to write a New York Times bestseller than date a supermodel," BRI.
No need to stress: books will always be around. Writers write. Readers read. Both love the word: "Whatever happens there will always be two key entities – the authors who create and the readers who consume. The gap between them is now narrowing."
What you read is what you are: "Eating anything you come across does not contribute to good health; the content of what we eat is of vital importance. The same is true of reading."
Every demagogue knows the importance of spinning his web around a young audience, hence children books penned by Obama and the Pope. We however welcome the children book festival that aims to foster life-long reading habits: "With so much else that demands the attention of the young — homework, tuition, TV, playstation and cricket — reading often takes a back seat. However, Bookaroo, a festival of children's literature which started three years ago in the capital, has tried to rectify the problem."
"Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks . . . The English language . . . becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts," George Orwell.
New translation of Dr. Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak: "This novel is one of the 20th century's great indictments of armed revolution, utopian visionaries, and war. Russia's turbulent history, beset with cruel repression from the czar, followed by World War I, the Bolshevik revolution, the civil war, and the great purges by Joseph Stalin, left in its wake tens of millions of victims and serves as the tragic backdrop to the novel."