Never ending champagne 🍾…
Regina’s Rothwell delightful dishes ranged from Michelin’s star asparagus wrapped in capsicum. Prosciutto with King Island cheeses, olives 🫒, fish cake Italian sources swimming in Breast of chicken 🐔 peppered with vegetables and yummy potatoes. Pavlova and almond desserts.
Hall wrote about age without illusions, but also without embarrassment. That makes him a rarity in American culture, where getting old is usually regarded as a faux pas, something to be staved off with diet and exercise as long as possible and then hidden with plastic surgery.
Marek Šindelka Q & A
As part of Radio Prague International's 'Czech Books You Must Read'-series Brian Kenety and Ian Willoughby now have a Q & A about Marek Šindelka’s epic ‘monster’ Aberrant, award-winning ‘anabasis’ Material Fatigue.
You find the strangest things in the pages of old books, and the folks at the Bodleian Archives at Oxford are no stranger to the eccentric bits of paratext one picks up here and there. But this is indeed something of a mystery …
At GQ they "canvassed dozens and dozens of American journalists" to come up with a list of The 50 Best Books of Literary Journalism of the 21st Century.
'200 Books That Shaped 200 Years of Literature'
"The Center for Fiction opened its doors in 1821 as the Mercantile Library of New York", and to celebrate their two hundred year anniversary they have put together a list of 200 Books That Shaped 200 Years of Literature -- and:
The resulting 200 books shifted what types of fiction got read and written, launched or served as turning points for particular genres, opened the doors for whose work could be published, changed the rules of what we could write about and how we could write about it, inspired feverish searches for “the next” of their kind, or affected societal change far beyond the world of literature.
Always a fun kind of exercise -- leaving, of course, a lot to debate, too.
The list leans heavily on books written in English -- though at least it doesn't limit authors to a single entry, as such lists often do, and several have more than one title on the list. But still -- no Balzac ? No Thomas Mann ? No Roberto Bolaño ? And since this is list of books that shaped literature, some more genre-works surely belong: they have an Agatha Christie but no Raymond Chandler. There's no Jules Verne. Etc.
(Overall, the list is stronger with the more recent books than the early ones. But there's also some carelessness, like the list beginning with Pride and Prejudice -- fitting in the 200-year-span here because they ascribe a first publication date of 1832 to it, which is ... not correct -- or misspellings of names such as Edgar Allan Poe and George Eliot (which, confusingly, is both spelled correctly (once) and incorrectly (twice)).)
WLT's 100 notable 2021 translations
They've now posted World Literature Today’s 75—Make That 100—Notable Translations of 2021 -- upping the usual 75 to a round 100 this year.
As always, this list makes for a decent overview of much of the best that's been translated this year -- though quite a bit also gets overlooked: just among recent releases I note that Willem Frederik Hermans' A Guardian Angel Recalls, Hervé Le Tellier's prix Goncourt-winning (surely that's notable ?) The Anomaly, Pierre Senges' Ahab (Sequels), and Mario Vargas Llosa's Harsh Times all don't make the list. Neither does the recent National Book Award for Translated Literature winner, Elisa Shua Dusapin's Winter in Sokcho. Or, for example, The Membranes, by Chi Ta-wei -- certainly one of the works in translation published in 2021 that most impressed me.
(Meanwhile, I'm not sure about the inclusion of titles that will only be available in the US next year, such as Olga Tokarczuk's The Books of Jacob -- though of ocurse the heads-up can't hurt.)