Sunday, June 14, 2020

European Book Sector: Conspiring with the Enemy: The Ethic of Cooperation in Warfare has

 “There is only one recipe for a best seller and it is a very simple one. You have to get the reader to turn over the page inside Cold River.”
 ~ Ian Fleming

Two striking Australian novels with trauma at their heart

Leah Swann and Suzanne Leal have written impressive novels about things that really matter.

Cold War Rivers and Other Books Are A Contrived Medium. Soon They Will Be Gone

Literacy altered the human brain, making it “refit some of its existing neuronal groups” and “form newly recycled circuits.” The brain had to change because the innate brain can’t read. It responds to what it is exposed to if exposure happens often, for a long period. Literacy develops through practice—through labor that compels the development of revised brain functions. The more you read, the more your brain adapts. It is a “plastic” organ. –Claremont Review of Books

One good thing to come out of quarantine is that we get to see more photos of people’s home since they have nothing else to Instagram. One of my longtime favorite accounts @lacarliere highlights the 15th & 17th century Normandy manor house belonging to @petercopping  @rambertfleurs and their two pretty Siamese cats. I had a Siamese cat growing up named Miss Kitty who had the exact same dark coloring as their cats so sometimes they’ll post them for me. I actually thought about adopting a cat to keep me company during my time at home but I thought it might stress me out more so I appreciate their photos even more now. It’s the little things that are getting us all through.

Unconventional Wisdom: 8 Revolutionary Ideas for Your Garden from Thomas Rainer

The European Writers' Council has released a survey, conducted 30 March to 24 April, on The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Writers and Translators in the European Book Sector (warning ! dreaded pdf format !); see also the executive survey, which covers the main points. 
       Obviously, the impact has continued through May and now beyond, much of which is not reflected here, and a comprehensive final assessment is a ways off, but it's still a good overview, with some interesting country-to-country variations. The full report is worth a read-through -- down to the explanatory notes, such as the one pointing out why loss of income for writers and translators was less severe in the Czech Republic:
Czech Republic: the losses are currently assessed as less severe, since the low income of authors usually forces them to pursue another profession or job for their main income anyway.

At Radio Prague International Tom McEnchroe reports on how Various initiatives seek to support Czech book market recovering from coronavirus lockdown
       Some interesting ideas -- and also impressive to hear that:
Meanwhile, the Czech Literary Centre(Czech Lit), a relatively new public institution aimed at propagating Czech literature at home and abroad has announced its own form of support. Czech Lit Director Martin Krafl told Czech Television that the organisation has dedicated CZK 560,000 from its budget to provide 16 Czech authors with a monthly stipend of CZK 20,000.
       (CZK 20,000 is a bit more than US$800 -- not a huge amount, but certainly welcome, I'd imagine.) 

Polish palace owners fear looters searching for stash of Nazi gold

The claims of hidden gold were made in a diary written some 75 years ago by an SS officer.

At Radio Prague International Tom McEnchroe writes about Patrik Ouředník's novel, in Impetuous, infantile and scientific - Patrik Ouředník's Europeana
       It is apparently: "the best selling Czech post-1989 novel abroad" -- and it has been adapted for the stage. 

       (Apparently a new Ouředník is out -- The End of the World Might Not Have Taken Place; get your copy at or --; I haven't seen it yet, but am very much looking forward to it.)