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’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).

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.


Review: The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore!Q9vVOo7NS7vB3CidS!pxvgzMNfZ1nRiJTw0coSw6po!WgF19IVS2!XVFCWpRwJO0+h1iZSn5gWMZOxO7nbASp+W5SBQKW/u34+1F!EVWH7ngw7NLVXIcKIKW2pmYA+Gl!w8rbMsYH!BRIAG5OUet9tcq9F2XjffXkZsjELHH1dotzfe59Az1jyGM+mB65M9iSYJGxO3RSWsW1OYzkgsRAdZgmVYczuThe Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore (William Morrow, 256 pages)

Cudmore's debut novel is like the mix tapes that populate its pages- once you start it, you just want to blow through the entire thing without stopping.

Set in the Barter Street district of Brooklyn, The Big Rewind follows Jett Bennett- an aspiring music journalist who temps to make ends meet- as she tries to figure out who killed her friend and neighbor, KitKat. The key to solving the murder is a mix tape meant for KitKat that Jett accidentally receives in the mail.


From the TBR Shelf #53: The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004) by Stephen King

Ok, after Wolves of the Calla, almost anything was going to be a kind of letdown. I mean, Wolves was kickin'.

Song of Susannah, though, moves the plot forward significantly, since here is where Susannah/Mia/Odetta/Detta finally has her/their(??) baby. Ok, that doesn't happen until the end, but this novel explains exactly who/what the baby is. We also learn more about the Rose, the vacant lot, and why Calvin Tower has refused to sell it to Eddie's former bosses.