November 2, 2015
While Moby’s been away:
A link roundup
by Melville House
It’s been awhile.
We’ve been away unleashing a bunch of incredible books (check out our Fall Books Preview), dueling it out on Twitter (ahem), transitioning into our autumnal wear, and making publishing great again.
But starting this week — TODAY! — MobyLives is back, back, back.
Here’s a smattering of notable news we missed while on hiatus:
- President Obama sat down with writer Marilynne Robinson for a conversation about, well, America. “There’s all this goodness and decency and common sense on the ground, and somehow it gets translated into rigid, dogmatic, often mean-spirited politics,” he tells Robinson. (NYRB)
- Svetlana Alexievich won the Noble Prize in Literature. Alexievich is a Belarussian journalist and prose writer known for her nonfiction works about female Russian soldiers in World War II and the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. (NYT)
- AmazonCrossing, the literary translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, announced a five-year and $10 million commitment to increasing the number and diversity of its books in translation. “While we are now one of the largest publishers of translated literature in the United States, translated fiction is still a tiny fraction of new publications,” said Sarah Jane Gunter, Publisher of AmazonCrossing and General Manager of International Publishing. (The New Republic)
- Oyster, a “Netflix for books” subscription service, shut down, or as the company’s founders put it, Oyster took “steps to sunset.” Hmm, but you thought it was successful, you say? Well, in what may be an utterly innocent bit of opportunism, that utterly innocent company that recently dropped its “Do No Evil” motto, Google, has confirmed that some of the Oyster team will join its online bookstore, Google Play Books. (Re/Code)
- Harry Potter is dead, long live Harry Potter: J.K. Rowling’s new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will feature an adult Harry Potter and his son, Albus Severus Potter. The plot will pick up where the seventh book left off. (Time)
- Natalya Sharina, the head of the Ukrainian Literature Library in Moscow, was arrested on suspicion of “inciting ethnic hatred.” Sharina stands accused of circulating banned works by Dmytro Korchynskyy, a Ukrainian nationalist. During hourslong searches of the library, police seized up to 170 publications. (Radio Free Europe)
- Israeli author Etgar Keret’s new book, The Seven Good Years, will be translated into Farsi. Iranian law restricts the book from being published in Iran, so the Farsi edition will be published by the H&S Media imprint Nebesht in London, and made available in Afghanistan for the Iranian market. (The Guardian)
- Finally, a thing of ultimate, bitter irony, a thing long predicted, seems finally to have come to pass. As Shelf Awareness‘s John Mutter reported, after some intrepid sleuthing, Amazon is about to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in its hometown, and has been trying to lure away turncoats from the city’s famous roster of indie booksellers. The astonishing hypocrisy of the effort seems to mean that successful or not it’s doomed to ridicule, but as Mutter notes, at least it will be “a way to ensure that Amazon Publishing titles finally get onto at least one bookstore‘s shelves.”