This was a good week for books. From top to bottom: Selected Poems of Sergei Yesenin, Voronezh Notebooks by Osip Mandelstam, First Love and Other Stories by Ivan Turgenev, Selected Poems of Vladimir Mayakovsky, The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts, Celadon by Ian Haight, Granta issue #144, Apex Magazine Issue 110, and Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse.
For links to these authors, books and publishers, please see their listings on my 2018 Reading List page.
Thanks to a small gift card from work, I was able to pick up the four Russian authors from Amazon.com. They are unusual-enough titles that I didn’t want to burden the local bookstores with hunting them down. The Watts and Roanhorse books I ordered from Books and Mortar here in Grand Rapids, and I have ongoing subscriptions to the two journals. I picked up Ian Haight’s book at a small signing in Lowell this past Monday. It was great to finally meet Ian, after publishing him in Issue 1.3 of The 3288 Review, back in early 2016.
Since I just finished reading At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell and Paternus by Dyrk Ashton, Trail of Lightning is currently at the top of the to-read pile, and I can’t wait to dive in.
A small bonus from work allowed me to pick up a few books which have been on my want list for some time. Yeah, I have eclectic reading tastes. From top to bottom, they are: New Kind of Rebellion, by Rachel Gleason; The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang; Ambiguity Machines by Vandana Singh; Afrofuturism by Ytasha L. Womack; New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid E. Erdrich; and The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.
Between work, vacation, and illness, and recovering from all three, I have missed a few weeks. I have also missed you-all! Welcome back.
* This is a great list of over 100 Russian writers, past and present, who are worthy of consideration.
* An excellent MetaFilter post from user Kliuless, offering a huge list of links concerning the concept of authority, narratives, cultural inertia who we allow to write the stories in which we live.
* Resisters of the Rust Belt
* Speaking of Metafilter, here is their latest post concerning the increasingly despotic and idiotic tenure of the fascist bootlick Donald Trump. Many worthy links and news sources in the comments.
* As a balm for living in this timeline, I’ve been listening to a lot of Ta-Nehisi Coates lectures and interviews lately. Here are a few of my favorites:
** The Necessity of Tomorrow(s) – Ta-Nehisi Coates on Afrofutures
** Futureface: Alex Wagner and Ta-Nehisi Coates discuss racial identity
** Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks at the Harvard “Universities and Slavery” conference
** Richard Rothstein, “The Color Of Law” (with Ta-Nehisi Coates)
** In Conversation With Ta-Nehisi Coates
* The Calvert Journal is publishing Beyond the Game, a series of video vignettes exploring each of the cities in Russia which will be hosting the football during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
* TOR.com has posted nice big long lists of the major genre releases for June 2018:
** All the new Fantasy Books Coming Out in June 2018.
** All the new Science Fiction Books Coming Out in June 2018.
** All the new Genre-Bending Books Coming Out in June 2018.
* Metafilter has posted the latest catch-all thread for links and commentary concerning the presidency and administration of Donald Trump, whose daddy issues exceed even those of George W. Bush, which is an astounding accomplishment. Baby Hands and Daddy Issues would be the title of the most accurate possible biography of our current and perpetually emasculated president.
Several years ago I began collecting books from publishers who specialize in translations from other languages into English. This was prompted by two circumstances. First, a co-worker from bygone years, Chad Post, began working at Open Letter Books in Rochester, NY. Second, on a visit to the Grand Rapids Public Library I discovered Esperanza Street by Niyati Keni, published by And Other Stories.
My eyes having been opened, and knowing a thing or two about the publishing world, I began researching small presses and books in translation. This led to the discovery that some of the most successful publishers, with the most exciting titles and authors, offered subscriptions to their catalogs. What a wonderful way to discover new authors, support small businesses, and add quality and variety to a personal library!
As of the publishing date of this post, I have subscriptions to Open Letter Books, Restless Books, Deep Vellum, & Other Stories, and Two Lines Press.
I found a couple of pages which have comprehensive lists of publishers of works in translation – The American Literary Translators Association and PEN America. What follows is a subset (probably incomplete) of publishers from these two lists which offer subscriptions to their catalogs. Links go to subscription information.
* A worthy list from BookRiot: 50 Must-Read Books with Gorgeous Writing. From this list I have read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Kite Runner, and White Oleander. Looks like my Mount Tsundoku will be growing soon.
* The Midwest Socialist has published an excellent 5-part (so far) primer on the basics of radical thought and history.
** Part 1 – Dialectical Materialism
** Part 2 – Alienation
** Part 3 – Class
** Part 4 – Value
** Part 5 – Praxis
* Goddammit so much. Anthony Bourdain has left the kitchen. Here is a good round-up of the best writing about Bourdain to be found on the web.
* Happy 21st Century, from Charles Stross.
* The files of the SCP Foundation should be good for writing prompts and nightmares.
* The one Trump scandal which encompasses all the rest.
* Emasculated president Donald Trump, who is terrified of everyone who is not white and rich, believes all Mexicans are part of MS-13. When this was pointed out, he called it “fake news,” which is actually verification of the charge, since literally every time Trump squeals “fake news,” is it because something true was printed and he didn’t like it.
* Metafilter has posted a new catch-all politics thread. Many good links and comments therein.
* If you have a few minutes and you like simple adventure-type games, give Dicey Dungeons a try.
* The Rage of the Incels – https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-rage-of-the-incels?mbid=social_facebook
* The Persistence of Anti-Muslim Hate on Facebook – https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/05/05/persistence-anti-muslim-hate-facebook
* Longreads is publishing a series called Bundyville, which tells the story of the neo-Nazi Bundy clan and their treasonous attempts to steal federal land for their own profit. As of this post, four of the seven parts have been posted.
* The WFMT Archive of Studs Terkel Interviews