Proust: The Perfect Beach Read

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Dennis Abrams Spring is here, summer will fast be upon us, and for most readers, it’s the time for fat juicy mindless paperback novels, perfect for idling away the time while at the beach or on vacation. This year though, why not try something different? There’s still time to join us on our year long journey through Marcel Proust’s …

Is Literature Useful as an Instrument of “Soft Power?”

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In today’s lead story about the Chinese book market, Dr. Luc Kwanten of the Big Apple literary agency says that in recent years China has been promoting the export of its literature — either by supporting translations or participating in book fairs — as an exercise in “soft power.” “Soft power” is itself something of an amorphous …

Does Literature Still Have the Power to Irritate Powers-that-be?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In today’s lead story Daniel Kalder writes about Russia’s Ad Marginem Press, a “underground” publisher of controversial and politically provocative works of fiction and nonfiction. Ad Marginem publisher Alexander Ivanov says the press may have something of an advantage in attracting an audience, in so far as “literature [in Russia] may still -– as it did in …

Publishing Poetry? Market to Australians!

In Global Trade Talk by Hannah Johnson

By Hannah Johnson According to a survey conducted by the Australia Council for the Arts, 84% of Australians are avid readers of literature and one in five survey respondents read poetry. The results also showed that 15-24 year-olds are the most engaged in creating art online, whether that is writing, visual arts, theater or music. The Australia Council even made …

Does Turning Classics into Video Games Indoctrinate Readers?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka There’s a trend going on: We’re seeing more and more classics being turned into video games. Today’s lead story describes how Nintendo is planning to release 100 French language classics for their Nintendo DS handheld game machine (something they’ve already done in Japan and the UK). Earlier this month we saw the release of a video game …

French Classics à la Nintendo (With a Little Help from Gallimard)

In Europe by Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije PARIS: On March 5th, Nintendo France will release its 100 Classic Book Collection in a deal with publisher Gallimard, becoming the third country after Japan in 2007 and the UK in 2008 to make literary classics available to read on its DS portable games consoles. Gallimard’s 25,000 title-strong backlist catalog includes a great majority of France’s best …

What Book Would You Give North Koreans to Read?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Today’s lead story describes literary life in North Korea, where the authoritarian government restricts access to most books to very few elite in Pyongyang. While there are some Western books available, these are few and far between. “At the end of the day,” says Demick, “[North Korean] literature is totally subservient to propaganda, which is there to …

Frogs in a Well: Literary Life in North Korea

In Growth Markets by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka North Korea is without a doubt among the most mysterious of countries, which begs the question: What kind of literary life is there in North Korea? The answer — according to two new books about the country, Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick (Spiegel & Grau) and The Cleanest Race by B.R. Myers (Melville House) — is nothing …

Review: Don DeLillo’s Point Omega

In Book Review by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Starting with 2002’s Cosmopolis about the 2000 Internet-stock-bubble burst, Don DeLillo has used his considerable skills as a fiction writer to dwell on current events. His previous novel, 2007’s Falling Man, concerned 9/11, and his latest, Point Omega, looks at the recent war in Iraq. Richard Elster, a 73-year-old academic who served as a war strategist, has …