Phinney Books in Seattle has two whole shelves of NYRB Classics and New York Review Childrens Collection titles. All ye residents of Seattle’s Phinney Ridge / Greenwood neighborhood and beyond, visit this store for a better Monday. Or a better any day.
[Photo credit: Tynan Kogane]
Summer. Friends pose for a photograph on a beach. They are tanned and at ease in their outfits of white linen and cotton. The men cover their heads against the bright sun, the women wear their hair bobbed or tied back. They look in the prime of life, mostly in their late twenties or early thirties: young professionals (lawyers, publishers, teachers, a couple of artists) on a group holiday at the Mediterranean coast. They smile or gaze at the view; a small child in its mother’s lap waves to the camera. The photographer—no doubt a local, working the beach during the season—has carefully inscribed the plate with his reference number and the date: 25/vii/1914. The beach is at Novi Vinodolski, on the Adriatic.
The confident man of twenty-nine sitting at the bottom of the photograph is my grandfather Béla Zombory-Moldován, a young artist oblivious to the fact that his carefree holiday is about to be cut short. In three days his country, Austria-Hungary, will be at war. A week from now he will be in uniform, and in just over a month he will be a thousand kilometers away, watching in horror as his comrades are torn apart by Russian artillery in the forests of Galicia.
—Peter Zombory-Moldovan, from the introduction to the First World War memoir The Burning of the World by Béla Zombory-Moldován
The Burning of the World, which Booklist, in a starred review, called “haunting, heartbreaking, and beautifully written,” will be available, for the first time anywhere, on August 5, 2014.
What in my view brings home the extent of our ignorance is not so much the facts which really are facts, but which we cannot explain, as the explanations we produce of the facts which are not facts at all; which is as much as to say that while we have no principles that should lead us to the truth, we have plenty of others well calculated to lead us away from it.
—Fontenelle, quoted in Paul Hazard’s Crisis of the European Mind
This entry into the Classics and Coffee Club comes with a recommendation from the proprietor of Something by Virtue of Nothing, who says:
I think that anyone who lives abroad or travels extensively should read at least chapter one of this book. Even where one might disagree, the light-handed style of this heavily informative book is easy to argue with.
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 from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.
On Literary Traveling Companions: Rebecca West and Patrick Leigh Fermor -
For the first time in years I’m actually taking a substantial vacation, one that involves airplanes and oceans and everything. Which also means that for the first time in years I can read travel books without experiencing crippling jealousy … Continued
At Book Riot, James Crossley of Island Books in Mercer Island, Washington pays tribute to two complementary masters of the travelogue, Rebecca West (her novel The Fountain Overflows is an NYRB Classic) and Patrick Leigh Fermor.
Agostino recommends itself as an ideal literary beach read that can be soaked up in one or two sittings, so adroit is Moravia’s use of a seaside setting as a charm for psychological discovery and sand-encrusted epiphanies. — At the BN Review, Christopher Byrd takes a look at Alberto Moravia’s Agostino newly translated by Michael F. Moore.
—the last entries in the “Golden Notebook” from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s The Waste Books, for your Thursday.
Books new! Books old! Books for you! Books for your kids!
Lampedusa • Pavese • Manchette • Gallant • Balzac • Stafford • Baker • Wedgwood • Renoir • Wescott • Kundhardt • Chatterjee • Amis • Horne & more…
You can be a bit freer—no, why is it more fun to translate? I feel like with poetry you can … I spend longer on each word. I spend a lot more time per word on poetry than in a novel. You can’t pore over a novel in quite the same way you can with a book of poetry. And I do feel that translating poetry, there’s a little bit more room for “freedom” in the translation process. The emphasis is at least as much on sound and rhythm as it is on meaning. It’s not that that isn’t there in novels, but the balance of power is a little bit more on meaning in a novel. Very concrete and specific things are happening and those things need to be conveyed, relatively accurately, so that the reader isn’t confused, or else the novel is no longer effective. It’s more just about that balance of where the energy is going.
—Kareem James Abu-Zeid in an interview with Three Percent, on translating Najwan Darwish’s Nothing More To Lose
To read the rest of the interview, visit Three Percent's website.
Best news ever: Beloved Finnish artist Tove Jansson, creator of the iconic Moomin series, will be gracing a new Euro coin.
To celebrate, here are Jansson’s enchanting vintage illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit.
Our new collection of Jansson’s short stories (none before available in the US), The Woman Who Borrowed Memories, with an introduction by Lauren Groff, comes out this fall.
10 Crime Writers to Read Now -
Jane Ciabattari’s picks, including Leonardo Sciascia, “one of the first writers who dared to reveal how the mafia controlled small towns in his native Sicily.”
The author’s charming and useful tendency to lose track of his destination became a serious real-life problem in the case of the books about the walk across Europe—the most beloved of his works, which have achieved the status of cult classics particularly among adventure-bent youth…. However many the detours, Leigh Fermor’s youthful journey did have a destination, which the author finally reached: he got to ‘Constantinople’ on New Year’s Eve, 1935, a little shy of his twenty-first birthday. — In case you missed it: Daniel Mendelsohn wrote about the concluding volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's legendary trilogy, as well as PLF's “helpless penchant for digressions literal and figurative” in the June 19, 2014 issue of The New York Review of Books
I asked one of the monks how he could sum up, in a couple of words, his way of life. He paused a moment and said, “Have you ever been in love?” I said, “Yes.” A large Fernandel smile spread across his face. “Eh bien,” he said, “c’est exactement pareil …”
—Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time to Keep Silence
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 from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock and lend NYRB Classics.