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5/22/16

A Virtual Reality Anne Frank Film? NOPE

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTa5clLcRaY7obVtHMy6f7TqDCIVCoCyNZ1EGTzixdJ4ZmH5N1EAccording to The Guardian, a virtual reality film is in the works that will bring viewers “into” the Amsterdam annex where Anne Frank hid with her family from the Nazis from 1942-1944.

I think I speak for many people when I say to Jonathan Hirsch (the producer): just….just don’t.
Anne Frank’s story is undoubtedly one of the most compelling to come out of the brutality and carnage of World War II. I read her diary many years ago, and was moved by its honesty and optimism, even as Anne was forced to live in hiding for years.

But the ways in which people have pounced on this tragic story over the years is shameful, in my opinion. Aren’t there enough freakin’ plays and films about the Frank family’s experiences? Do we really need another one, and one that is so voyeuristic? Thankfully (and hopefully), we will never know what it’s like to have to live cramped and silent for years, terrified at the slightest noise because it might mean that we’ve been discovered and will be dragged out to be sent to a camp or shot. So let’s not pretend that we can understand.

In Translation: May Fiction and Poetry

I say this every month, but I’m really excited about these new translations, you guys. We have some Tamil poetry co-translated by Ravi Shankar (RAVI SHANKAR!), a work of fiction-not-fiction from Spain, a novel by a Romanian Nobel laureate, and the story of a troubled childhood in Morocco. Dig in!


andal The Autobiography of a Goddess by Andal, translated by Priya Sarukkai Chabria and Ravi Shankar (Zubaan Books, 176 pages, May 15)

This is an exciting new collaborative translation of the work of 8th-century Tamil poet Andal. A “powerful expression of female sexuality in the Indian spiritual tradition,” Autobiography of a Goddess includes the Thiruppavaii, thirty pasuram sung before Lord Vishnu, and the erotic Nacchiyar Thirumoli.


In Translation: April Fiction and Poetry

Yes, April is the cruelest month because I have a list of new translations here for you, which means that your TBR pile/shelf/bookcase is going to get larger and more unwieldy. You’re going to have to live until you’re 800 or so just to read all the books you already have (don’t worry, I feel your pain). And so, without further ado, I bring you fiction from Japan, Portugal, and Cameroon, and poetry from Austria.

queirosThe Yellow Sofa by José Maria de Eça de Queirós, translated by John Vetch (New Directions, 128 pages, April 18)

Acclaimed Portuguese writer and diplomat Eça de Queirós (1845-1900) wrote twenty books in his lifetime, among them The Yellow Sofa, a story about marriage and forgiveness in the face of betrayal. His work has been compared to that of Dickens, Flaubert, and Tolstoy.


5 Bizarre 19th Century American Novels

I’ve read a lot of books so far in my time here on Earth, so I can say pretty confidently that there are some novels out there that are so unbelievably wierd/nutty/cuhrazy, you have to pause every twenty pages or so just to stare at a wall and wonder “did I just read that??!

So when were some of the most bizarre American novels written, you ask? The twentieth century? NOPE. The nineteenth, you guys (for the purposes of this post, the “long” nineteenth century, as they say in academia when things fall a little outside the date boundaries). That was one wacked-out hundred years. I mean, civil war and railroads all over the place and imperialism and financial crises every five seconds and all kinds of new-fangled inventions…people’s heads were a-spinnin’. Makes sense that they wrote the following novels:


brownWieland: or, The Transformation: An American Tale (1798) by Charles Brockden Brown

I was first introduced to this interesting gentleman’s work during my first semester of grad school and DAMN but his stuff is freaky. He has one novel about a yellow fever outbreak, one about a sleepwalker, and a few others. Wieland was based on the true story of a farmer’s murder of his entire family because “voices” told him to do it. In Brockden Brown’s version, the “voices” are actually all from the same man, a ventriloquist named Carwin who’s been hanging around the Wieland estate and stirring up trouble. It’s gothic and Poe-ishly dark and this ventriloquist guy is pretty unique.

More Bookish Ideas for James Patterson

droneIt seems that there’s nothing James Patterson won’t do to promote books. In recent years, he’s given a ton of money to libraries and independent booksellers, and now he’s trying to turn more people into readers through “BookShots“- short movie-like pieces that are faced-paced and easy to read.

Well. We here at the Riot decided to brainstorm even MORE ideas for James Patterson, in order to help him with his quest(?) to turn every person on the planet into a reader:

Patterson invents a brain implant that transmits books directly into your mind.

Patterson rides around on drones, throwing books through people’s windows.

An Absolutely Serious Analysis of TOOTLE

tootleI’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Tootle, far from being a cute children’s book about a curious baby train, is actually virulent fascist propaganda.

Now, my 3-year-olds are a little obsessed with it, and that’s fine. It’s pretty amazing that they’ll sit through such a relatively lengthy book right before bed. The content, though? Well, it’s really problematic, but if my husband and I were to try reading a different book while surreptitiously dropping Tootle into an industrial shredder, the twins would drop us into the industrial shredder instead so…

But seriously, people. According to the story, this baby train named “Tootle” goes to train school and takes classes in stopping for red flags, staying on the rails (NO MATTER WHAT), and all kinds of other things. But Tootle, being a curious, rambunctious creature, takes off-rail romps through meadows, racing horses, making daisy-chains, and generally having a helluva time. But the citizens of the town realize that Tootle is breaking the cardinal rule (staying on the rails) and they get together to teach him his lesson: i.e. do what you’re told and stay on the straight and narrow or we’ll make you cry.

5/9/16

Waistcoats, Weaponry, and Writing: An Interview with Gail Carriger

http://i0.wp.com/www.sfsignal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Carriger.jpg?resize=251%2C300Author Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy. Her Parasol Protectorate books, their manga adaptations, and the first two books in her YA Finishing School seriesabout Victorian girl spies were all New York Times bestsellers. Her newest book, Waistcoats & Weaponry, is out November 4th. She was once a professional archaeologist and is overly fond of tea.
Gail was kind enough to answer some questions about her latest novel and writing in general. So pour yourself some tea, button that waistcoat, and let’s get started!


Rachel Cordasco: Waistcoats & Weaponry is the third book in your young adult steampunk Finishing School series: can you give us an overview of this latest installment and explain how it fits into the series as a whole?

Gail Carriger: In this book Sophronia and her friends finally get to spend time away from their school, putting all their newly leaned spy skills to good use. There is a train heist, an accidental kidnapping, a renewal of old acquaintances ­(not all of them welcome) and, finally, some serious flirting. Also, I suspect someone throws food at someone else ­– in my books, they usually do.

5/5/16

Review: Super Extra Grande by Yoss, translated by David Frye

http://i1.wp.com/images.amazon.com/images/P/1632060566.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SL400_.jpg?w=620Super Extra Grande by Yoss, translated by David Frye (Restless Books, 160 pages, June 7)


Thanks to Restless Books and translator David Frye, we have yet another Yoss novel out of Cuba to brighten our year. Remember my review last year of A Planet for Rent? Well, Super Extra Grande brings all of the sardonic humor, unconventional characters, and fast-paced plot we’ve come to expect. As one of Cuba’s best-known and beloved writers of speculative fiction, Yoss continually inspires us with his visions of alternative realities.

In Super Extra Grande, he introduces us to Dr. Jan Amos Sangan Dongo, “Veterinarian to the Giants”- that is, the guy who treats the galaxy’s largest organisms: eighteen-hundred-meter-long tsunamis, titanic amoebae of the planet Brobdingnag…you get the idea. Luckily, the good doctor himself is pretty large, for a human, so he can tackle cases other vets wouldn’t approach with a ten-foot pole.

Review: Empire V by Victor Pelevin, translated by Anthony Phillips

http://i1.wp.com/images.amazon.com/images/P/B0151YR8YA.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SL400_.jpg?w=620 Empire V: The Prince of Hamlet by Victor Pelevin, translated by Anthony Phillips (Gollancz, 337 pages, 2016)


I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you are actually nothing more than a domesticated animal that provides nutritional life-force to vampires. Civilization, culture, human values and desires- these are all nothing more than the side-effects of vampiric domestication. We are all living in an invisible cattle pen and it’s the vampires and their small cadre of human minions who run the show.

At least, that’s what Empire V argues. In this the second of his recent post-modern satirical novels translated into English (by Anthony Phillips), Pelevin introduces us to our actual overlords, the vampires, who, contrary to popular belief, have evolved above just drinking human blood to “sucking” humanity’s life-force instead. How is this life-force generated? By the everlasting human quest for money. As one of the novel’s most powerful vampires explains to the narrator (a human-turned-vampire), it is this quest that has driven humans to create and accomplish an astonishing number of things.

Review: The Best of Spanish Steampunk, edited and translated by James and Marian Womack

http://i0.wp.com/images.amazon.com/images/P/B00TSP0UMG.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SL400_.jpg?w=620The Best of Spanish Steampunk, edited and translated by James and Marian Womack (Cheeky Frawg Ediciones Nevsky, 610 pages, 2015)


In her introduction to The Best of Spanish Steampunk, Diana M. Pho points out what has become a hallmark of the genre: it gives writers “an opportunity to unearth and highlight the underdogs of history.” The very nature of steampunk — its juxtapositions and unexpected connections — leads writers in the genre to explore what might have been had steam truly driven the world. Such an important alternative history, then, necessitates imagining significantly different outcomes in wars that were fought and those that might never have occurred. I can’t help but go back to another recent steampunk collection — The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia, edited by Jayme Goh and Joyce Chng — that did similar work, reimagining a world in which European colonial forces often failed to subjugate native populations, and where those populations developed steam-driven technology designed with their particular and unique environments and cultures in mind.

4/26/16

Review: Quiet Creature on the Corner by João Gilberto Noll, translated by Adam Morris

http://twolinespress.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Quiet-Creature-web-294.jpgQuiet Creature on the Corner by João Gilberto Noll, translated by Adam Morris (Two Lines Press, 120 pages, May 10)

This slim volume asks to be read in a single sitting, which is precisely what I did. And that's a good thing, because only in that way could I fully experience the dizzying and unsettling "plot."

The first of Noll's works to be translated into English, Quiet Creature is ostensibly about a young, poverty-stricken poet who, after being sent to jail for rape, is released into the custody of a mysterious older man who cares for him on an unidentified estate. Throughout the story, time seems to skip ahead without any warning, the narrator and the few other characters aging in fits and starts.

4/24/16

A (Potentially) Complete List of Speculative Fiction in Translation for 2016

I'm sure that this list will need to be updated soon, but here's what I have so far:


title author country translator transl. Date publisher
The Core of the Sun Johanna Sinisalo Finland Lola Rogers 01/05/16 Grove Press Black Cat
Fardwor, Russia!: A Fantastical Tale of Life Under Putin Oleg Kashin Russia Will Evans 01/12/16 Restless Books
Empire V Victor Pelevin Russia Anthony Phillips 02/18/16 Gollancz
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Vol 1: Dawn Yoshiki Tanaka Japan Daniel Huddleston 03/08/16 Haikasoru
Castles in Spain various Spain ed. Mariano Villarreal 04/09/16 Sportula
Super Extra Grande Yoss Cuba David Frye 06/07/16 Restless Books
The Doomed City Arkady & Boris Strugatsky Russia Andrew Bromfield 07/01/16 Chicago Review Press
The Year 200 Agustín de Rojas Cuba Nicholas Caistor 07/12/16 Restless Books
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Vol 2: Ambition Yoshiki Tanaka Japan Daniel Huddleston 07/19/16 Haikasoru
The Gate of Sorrows Miyuki Miyabe Japan Jim Hubbert 08/16/16 Haikasoru
Death's End (3/3) Cixin Liu China Ken Liu 08/30/16 Tor
Sixth Watch Sergi Lukyenko Russia Andrew Bromfield 08/30/16 Harper Paperbacks
Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation various China Ken Liu 11/01/16 Tor
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Vol 3: Endurance Yoshiki Tanaka Japan Daniel Huddleston 11/15/16 Haikasoru
The Monteverde Report Lola Robles Spain Lawrence Shimel
Aqueduct Press
Zero Machine
Italy

Acheron Books

4/22/16

Review: La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, translated by Michele Hutchison

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 Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison (Deep Vellum, 418 pages, March 15)

"La Superba"- an apt nickname for the labyrinthine, kaleidoscopic city of Genoa. As one of Pfeijffer's characters elaborates, this nickname has many meanings: "superb and reckless, beautiful and proud, alluring and unapproachable."

Thus are we thrown into the meta-novel that is La Superba, a work concerned with identity and reinvention, immigration, loss, language, writing, and the murky territory of love and sexuality. Pfejffer has made himself the narrator, and the novel we hold in our hands is, according to him, simply a compilation of letters that he writes to an unidentified friend back home in the Netherlands. He often says something like "if I wrote this novel, I would change x or y," which never fails to give the reader a very slight but noticeable case of literary vertigo.

4/16/16

Review: The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia, edited by Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng

http://i1.wp.com/images.amazon.com/images/P/1495607569.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SL400_.jpg?w=620
The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia, ed. by Jayme Goh and Joyce Chng (Rosarium Publishing, 270 pages, 2015)


If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read my interview with editors Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng on the genesis of this collection. As they explained, The SEA is Ours is a unique and exciting effort to broaden the boundaries of the subgenre we know as “steampunk” while simultaneously creating alternate colonial histories, ones that imagine people using airships and automatons (among other things) to beat back invaders and keep alive traditions in an evolving world.

When Books Hit Too Close to Home

http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/creativecontent/images/cms/961353_630x354.jpgYou know that feeling when you’re reading a novel and suddenly you come across a description or a scene and you’re like “hey that’s my life right there!” It’s as if the author had known that you specifically were going to read their book, so they threw in some personal things to freak you out.

Well. This has happened to me twice within the past four years, and both times it was very disturbing. So a big ol’ THANKS NOT REALLY to Stephen King and John Steinbeck for giving me nightmares I totally didn’t need.

Curiosity Killed the Think Piece: We’re Allowed to Wonder Who Ferrante Is

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQKHNbELVtXtd7C9Pz-V0brTvVMxNtkEcyyoeiyRap_t8pZxeIUPeople, I’m tired of the pointless literary thinky-pieces with questions for titles. You know what I’m talking about. “Is the Novel Really Dead?” “Does Anybody Really Read Shakespeare Anymore?” “Is [Author] an Interdimensional Alien?”

Specifically, I was annoyed by the recent Electric Lit piece, “Why Do We Care Who the ‘Real’ Elena Ferrante Is?” Here we’re brought up to date on the latest speculation about the anonymous Italian author’s true identity. The central question of the piece, though, is why “we” would even try to find out who this writer “really” is when ‘Muricans are too boorish too even name an Italian author, much less care about what they write.

In Translation: March Fiction and Poetry

Ahhhhh March. You bring with you the promise of Spring and the hope that we’ve seen the last of that muddy, gross, hard-packed snow staring at us from the gutters. And laughing. Well, laugh no more, abominable snowmen, for here are some great reads in translation (from Italy, Japan, Jordan, and Lebanon) that will generate enough warmth to melt your asses so there, Winter!


petrarchMy Secret Book by Francesco Petrarca, edited and translated by Nicholas Mann (Harvard University Press Series: The I Tatti Renaissance Library, 304 pages, March 28)

We all know Petrarch, but here we have access to some of his most tormented thoughts about his need for fame and love. Written as a dialogue between Franciscus and Augustinius, in the presence of Truth (represented as a beautiful woman), Secretum (My Secret Book) offers us a new perspective on the 14th century poet and his goals as a writer.

3/28/16

Hey, Virginia: Your Censorship Bill is a Terrible Idea

angry_kirkPeople of Virginia: you have a job to do. Email, call, send telepathic messages to your state legislature and tell those politicians that you will not stand for idiotic, narrow-minded, absolutely f$%^ing ridiculous bills like HB516.

What is this bill? It’s supposed to force schools to notify parents if teachers plan to distribute and discuss instructional material that contains “sexually explicit” passages, WHATEVER THAT MEANS. The parents will then be able to opt out and have their precious snowflakes read something else. I’m guessing Winnie the Pooh?

12 Translators on Why They Do What They Do

http://www.translation-project-management.com/images/site/translator.jpgI’ve been interested in literary translation since I was a teenager reading Dostoyevsky, Cervantes, Mann, and Kafka for the first time. And when I started thinking about what it meant to declare that Thomas Mann was my favorite writer while only being able to read him in English translation, I was struck by just how important translation is to expanding our minds and introducing us to diverse cultures. I also realized that my experience reading Mann in English differed in fascinating ways from that of a German-speaker reading him in the original. Years later, when I translated the work of several French Symbolist poets for an independent study, I realized how much every single word makes a difference in conveying meaning from one language to another and in capturing tone and style. It was some of the hardest work I had ever done, but also incredibly rewarding.

8 Reasons Why I’m Loving Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series

stephen_kingYou may have heard recently that, yes, finally, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series will be heading to the big screen. I’m pretty excited about this news, you guys, because I’m in the middle of listening to the sixth book and have SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. AND. FEELS. AND. THINGS.

And yes, I’m late to the party as usual, but I’ve been a King fan for many years and it was only right to finally jump into the story of Roland Deschain to see what all the fuss was about. (Read Susie’s piece about what to do if you want to read the series but you hated The Gunslinger).

So, even though I haven’t even finished Song of Susannah yet, I’m going to tell you eight reasons (in honor of the eight books) why I’m luuuurving the Dark Tower. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to read it, too, if you haven’t already.

I’ll try not to be spoiler-y.

In Italiano: Italian Lit in the News

I love Italy for many reasons: it has given us opera, a beautiful spoken language, pasta, some kick-ass literature, and many other things (I also married an Italian, so there’s that!). It should come as no surprise, then, that when I realized how much Italy was in the bookish headlines recently, I was molto eccitato!

(n.b. I audited Italian during grad school, but I don’t get much of a chance to use it, so I’m going to vocab-drop throughout this post- just lettin’ ya know).

ferrante
Primo, if you haven’t heard the buzz around Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series (which will be adapted for tv soon, apparently), you’ve been living on Mars or something. This four-part story about friendship, love, and family has taken America by storm, and the obscurity of the writer’s identity makes the quartet even more tantalizing. How have I not read any Ferrante yet, you ask? Three reasons: twins and a baby.

ANYWAY. I’m feeling a bit warm these days, so Ferrante Fever is definitely getting a hold on me. Imma check these books out.