1. Giveaway: The Bridge of Beyond, by Simone Schwarz-Bart

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    Against sorrow and the vanity of things, there is and will always be human fantasy.

    —Simone Schwarz-Bart, The Bridge of Beyond

    NYRB is giving away three copies of Simone Schwarz-Bart’s novel The Bridge of Beyond via Goodreads Giveways.* Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, July 23rd. So if you’ve been meaning to read Schwarz-Bart’s book, “part fable, part tragedy, always beautifully written” (Roxane Gay), now is the time.

    Submit your entry at Goodreads right here.

    *Entries for US residents only

  2. If you’ve been meaning to read ‘Life and Fate’…

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    —Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate

    Up for a late spring/early summer reading challenge? The NYRB Classics Goodreads Book Club is tackling Life and Fate as their May/June read. At a robust 896 pages (that’s including the very-helpful “List of Chief Characters” at the back), this book has already resulted in four separate discussion threads on the reading group site—it’s just that good/long.

  3. The “Rogue” Writer

    This confession—shall I call it?—is written to keep myself from brooding, to get down to what happened in the order in which it happened. I am not content with myself. With this pencil and exercise-book I hope to find some clarity. I create a second self, a man of the past by whom the man of the present may be measured.

    —from Geoffrey Household’s thriller Rogue Male. These are all good reasons to write, whether or not you are on the run from a vicious dictator’s secret police.

    The NYRB Classics Goodreads Book Club is currently reading Rogue Male (and developing a lot of tantalizing theories about the reliability of this self-proclaimed “confessor” in the discussion forum). Next month’s pick is Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s Autobiography of a Corpse. This is super exciting. Don’t hesitate to join in the fun.

    Lastly, please do watch all or part of this clip from the 1976 film adaptation of Rogue Male, starring Peter O’Toole:

  4. Our Most “Rated” Books on Goodreads

    When looking up a book on Goodreads one can see how many people have “rated” it. We’ll assume this means read. The other thing that Goodreads does is “combine” editions, so if you look up a hardcover edition and somebody else has reviewed a paperback edition they will all be together (for example The War of the Worlds has 139 editions). Which is fine for English-language books, but a bit problematic when it comes to translations, plus the original language book is combined with translations as well. Keeping these points in mind here is a look at our ten most “rated” books on Goodreads.

    The War of the Worlds1. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (our edition has an Edward Gorey cover and illustrations)

    The Inferno2. The Inferno by Dante, translated by Ciaran Carson

    Pinocchio3. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, translated by Geoffrey Bock

    The Chrysalids4. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

    Chess Story5. Chess Story by Stefan Zweig, translated by Joel Rotenberg

    The Enchanted April6. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

    The Invention of Morel7. The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, translated by Ruth L.C. Simms

    Stoner8. Stoner by John Williams

    A High Wind in Jamaica9. A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes

    The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes10. The Life of Lazarillo de Tomes by anonymous, translated by W.S. Merwin

    And finally, if you are interested, we do have an NYRB Classics Goodreads bookclub. This month we’re doing J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country.

  5. Bookclubbing

    For the bookclubbers out there there are several NYRB-themed bookclubs you can partake in, either on your computer or in person:

    It’s Elizabeth Taylor’s Centenary in 2012 and this month (July) the English blog Musings is reading Angel. The most recent post is here.

    We have our own Goodreads book club and the poll is now up for what to read over the rest of July and August. J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country is winning at the moment, but there is still time to change that (till Monday).

    And, for New Yorkers, WORD Bookstore has been doing a British NYRB Classics book club all year long for their Classics Book Club every second Saturday of the month at 12 am. We started Patrick Hamilton’s Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky this past weekend and will finish it on August 11th. Come by!

    And in San Francisco Dog Eared Books has the BYONYRB Book Club hosted by Peter Orner. I can’t tell what their current pick is but if you live in the area go by and ask.

  6. Bubbles over a drowned man

    Writers, in essence, are professional word tamers; if the words walking down the lines were living creatures, they would surely fear and hate the pen’s nib as tamed animals do the raised whip.

    —from Sigizimund Krzhizhanovsky’s The Letter Killers Club, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull. It’s the Goodreads book club pick for May.