1. Here’s to the books that outrage: Banned Books Week 2014

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    September 21–27 is Banned Books Week, and this year NYRB Classics will continue to pay tribute to our books that were once censored or banned. Last year we wrote about Gabriel Chevallier’s Fear, Andrey Platonov’s Happy Moscow, and Alberto Moravia’s Agostino. This year, we’ll begin with Curzio Malaparte’s The Skin

    As Rachel Kushner writes in the introduction to The Skin, Malaparte’s novel about the horrors of war was first published in France in 1949, causing “outrage and derision,” and was then banned by the Catholic Church and the city of Naples. The NYRB Classics edition is the first unexpurgated English translation of The Skin, a novel which has proved timeless. As Rachel Kushner writes:

    The more time has passed, the more precise and accurate The Skin has come to seem. It uncovers truths, no matter how ugly—concerning war, the dissolution of Europe, the condition of life under foreign occupation, the nature of the American occupiers, and in some predictive way, a new and hegemonic world that Malaparte’s stark vision seems almost to anticipate: a ruthless global marketplace. Yet while The Skin traverses a complex historical moment and has much to say about it, this work, Malaparte’s very finest, comes to reside ultimately in the realm not of history or politics but purely of art. It is a work of blacker-than-black comedy, in a category of its own. A new kind of novel, to reflect a new reality. 

    Check the blog this week for more of our challenged, censored, and banned books. 

  2. NYRB at the Brooklyn Book Festival

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    New York Review Books and The New York Review of Books will be at the Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday, September 21, from 10–6. Come visit us at booths 428–429, where we’ll have books at discounted prices, free copies of the latest issue of The New York Review of Books, and more.

    From 2–2:50 p.m., hear NYRB author and contributor Darryl Pinckney speak about African-American voting rights on the “Voting Rights from Reconstruction to Obama” Brooklyn Book Festival panel, along with University of Baltimore law professor F. Michael Higginbotham (Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America),The Nation contributing writer Ari Berman, and panel moderator Erika L. Wood, Associate Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Voting Rights and Civil Participation Project at New York Law School. The panel will be held in the Brooklyn Law School Moot Courtroom, 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn.

  3. The Pushcart War had a profound impact on me; when I was a kid I devoured it several times, and I’ve carried it deep inside me ever since. The book gave me a point of entrance—my first, I imagine—into the world of resistance to political and economic injustice and chicanery. It made opposition, even non-violent civil disobedience, seem fun and right and necessary and heroic, and something even someone as powerless as a kid could and should undertake.

    —Tony Kushner

    The New York Review Children’s Collection 50th Anniversary edition of Jean Merrill’s classic The Pushcart War,  illustrated by Ronni Solbert, hits bookstore shelves this week! 

  4. Wee Gillis, our man in Scotland, still undecided on Scottish independence referendum

    We thought we’d check in with our old friend Wee Gillis to see where he stood on the vote. It seems that, as usual, he’s stuck between the viewpoints of his Highland Uncle and his Lowland Uncle:

    Either way the vote comes down, you can be sure Wee Gillis (as written by Munro Leaf and drawn by Robert Lawson) will content himself by playing his bagpipes as contentedly as ever.

  5. TONIGHT: Peter Cameron and Benjamin Taylor discuss Totempole at BGSQD

    TONIGHT: Peter Cameron, author of The City of Your Final Destination, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, and, most recently, Coral Glynn, will be in discussion with Benjamin Taylor, author of Naples Declared, about Sanford Friedman’s radical coming-of-age novel, Totempole at 7 p.m. at the Bureau of General Services – Queer Division, 83A Hester Street, New York. We hope to see you there!

  6. A preview of the table of contents from our forthcoming collection of poems (translated by Jason Weiss) by the Argentinian fabulist Silvina Ocampo, coming this January.

    A preview of the table of contents from our forthcoming collection of poems (translated by Jason Weiss) by the Argentinian fabulist Silvina Ocampo, coming this January.

  7. “I sometimes think that the meanest slave has had more freedom than we women have known.”

    I do not wish to marry, and I shall not regret not having done so, even when I am old. That which we call our world of marriage is, as you know, a world of necessary bondage; and I sometimes think that the meanest slave has had more freedom than we women have known.

    —Octavia, writing to her brother Augustus, after her divorce from Mark Antony, in John Williams’s Augustus

    Photo: Giovanni Dall’Orto Busts of Augustus, Lucius Caesar, and Octavia, at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

  8. Happy 100th, Adolfo Bioy Casares!

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    Diana punctually observes all kinds of birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s, Grandfather’s, and whatever other Day occurs to the calendar or to whoever runs these things, so that she doesn’t tolerate any neglect of those matters. If the forgotten date would have been her own birthday or my father-in-law, Don Martín Irala’s, or the anniversary of our marriage, I would do better to exile myself from the alley, because for me there would be no pardon.

    —from Adolfo Bioy Casares’ novel, Asleep in the Sun. Today is the 100th anniversary of Bioy Casares’ birth and in the spirit of Diana, we didn’t want it to pass unnoticed.

    Lucky for you North Texas residents out there, The Wild Detectives in Dallas is hosting a reading of Bioy Casares’ The Invention of Morel tonight at 7pm in honor of the centennial. For more information, visit the Art & Seek page for the event here or go straight to the Facebook event page here

    [Photo, R-L: Bioy Casares, Victoria Ocampo, and Jorge Luis Borges. Found at Wikimedia Commons.]

  9. Via the great Daniel Pinkwater’s Twitter feed, an animated adaptation (in Hungarian) of the beginning of his wild and wonderful Lizard Music. It looks like it was put together by his Hungarian publisher, Európa Könyvkiadówhich, explains why there’s (a bit of) Hungarian dialogue in it.

  10. 
…for Rabelais was wrong, blue is the color of the mind in borrow of the body; it is the color consciousness becomes when caressed; it is the dark inside of sentences, sentences which follow their own turnings inward out of sight like the whorls of a shell, and which we follow warily, as Alice after that rabbit, nervous and white, till suddenly—there! climbing down clauses and passing through ‘and’ as it opens—there—there—we’re here! … in time for tea and tantrums…
William H. Gass, On Being Blue

A blue book and a blue mug, sent in by a Third Place Books (of Lake Forest Park, Washington) bookseller.
As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

    …for Rabelais was wrong, blue is the color of the mind in borrow of the body; it is the color consciousness becomes when caressed; it is the dark inside of sentences, sentences which follow their own turnings inward out of sight like the whorls of a shell, and which we follow warily, as Alice after that rabbit, nervous and white, till suddenly—there! climbing down clauses and passing through ‘and’ as it opens—there—there—we’re here! … in time for tea and tantrums…

    William H. Gass, On Being Blue

    A blue book and a blue mug, sent in by a Third Place Books (of Lake Forest Park, Washington) bookseller.

    As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

  11. Happy Friday! Here is an 80s-tastic Japanese poster advertising Tove Jansson’s Moomins.
(Our original collection of Tove Jansson stories, The Woman Who Borrowed Memories, is out in just over a month).

    Happy Friday! Here is an 80s-tastic Japanese poster advertising Tove Jansson’s Moomins.

    (Our original collection of Tove Jansson stories, The Woman Who Borrowed Memories, is out in just over a month).

  12. 
“Let us drink to the nameless Cyclopes, to the memory of all our exhausted fathers who have perished, and to technology—the true soul of mankind!”
Andrey Platonov, Happy Moscow, translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler

Today’s Classics and Coffee Club snap comes all the way from “Happy Melbourne.”
Yo, if you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

    “Let us drink to the nameless Cyclopes, to the memory of all our exhausted fathers who have perished, and to technology—the true soul of mankind!”

    Andrey Platonov, Happy Moscow, translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler

    Today’s Classics and Coffee Club snap comes all the way from “Happy Melbourne.”

    Yo, if you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

  13. If you’re in New York come celebrate Sanford Friedman and Conversations with Beethoven with us tonight at Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side at 7 p.m.—poet and translator Richard Howard will be in conversation with Leo Carey, senior editor at The New Yorker, about Friedman’s final work. For more information visit the Barnes & Noble website.

    And check out these fantastic illustrations by Nathan Gelgud that accompany his review of Conversations with Beethoven at Biographile. Gelgud writes:

    Conversations with Beethoven makes it clear that the perceptions of others can add up to something thorny and difficult, not to mention out of the subject’s control. Friedman pastes together a complex, but eventually cohesive collage of scraps that describe a man. It’s an unflattering way to depict someone, and probably — shiver — the most accurate.


  14. Richard Howard in Conversation with Leo Carey

    They will be discussing the recent discovery and publication of Sanford Friedman’s novel Conversations with Beethoven, to which Mr. Howard contributed an introduction.

  15. geekerydo:

Finished CONVERSATIONS WITH BEETHOVEN today (by Sanford Friedman) and can’t overstate how happy I am to have done so. Towards the end there, I even felt a bit like I was intruding on something private. This collection of scribblings tells such a fantastic, at times tragic, but also hilarious story without even filling in both sides of the conversations. Definitely hanging on to this book for my personal collection. If you’ve ever been curious about Beethoven’s life, this book is a lovely snapshot.

We could not agree more! Thanks for the shout out.

    geekerydo:

    Finished CONVERSATIONS WITH BEETHOVEN today (by Sanford Friedman) and can’t overstate how happy I am to have done so. Towards the end there, I even felt a bit like I was intruding on something private. This collection of scribblings tells such a fantastic, at times tragic, but also hilarious story without even filling in both sides of the conversations. Definitely hanging on to this book for my personal collection. If you’ve ever been curious about Beethoven’s life, this book is a lovely snapshot.

    We could not agree more! Thanks for the shout out.