1. Today would have been Italo Calvino’s 91st birthday. (Happy birthday, Italo Calvino!) To celebrate, let’s marvel at these beauties…

     

  2. "Just as a tangent touches a circle lightly and at but one point, with this touch rather than with the point setting the law according to which it is to continue on its straight path to infinity, a translation touches the original lightly and only at the infinitely small point of the sense, thereupon pursuing its own course according to the laws of fidelity in the freedom of linguistic flux."
    — Walter Benjamin, “The Task of the Translator,” Illuminations (via heteroglossia)
     
  3. europaeditions:

    For Those Who Missed It (and even Those Who Stayed), here is the incredible Center for Fiction Elena Ferrante event featuring Ferrante’s translator Ann Goldstein and novelists Stacey D’Erasmo and Roxana Robinson in its entirety.

    With much fondness for Stacey D’Erasmo and because I’ve been meaning to read Elena Ferrante. 

     
     
  4. berfrois:

    Patrick Modiano has been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature

    Congratulations to Patrick Modiano

     
  5. “‘The Complete Cosmicomics’ is an entire book about beginnings. It’s also one of the inaugural volumes — with the early short stories of ‘Into the War’ and the essays of ‘Collection of Sand’ — in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s new uniform edition of Calvino. Look for other titles, some newly translated and all of them welcome, during the coming year.” –Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

    THE COMPLETE COSMICOMICS

    By Italo Calvino

    Translated by Martin McLaughlin, Tim Parks and William Weaver

     
  6. "Nobel Prize winner Saramago’s never-before-published first novel is an insightful and surprisingly suspenseful story about the tenants in a Lisbon apartment building in 1952. The characters range from Silvestre, the philosopher/cobbler, and his wife, who rent out a room to a young drifter; Lídia, a kept woman, whose lover begins to fancy a younger neighbor; Carmen and Emílio, an unhappy couple whose son is caught in the middle; grieving Justina and adulterer Caetano, who both loathe and desire each other; and sisters Adriana and Isaura, who struggle to keep a sexual secret from their aunt and mother. The daily routines and concerns of each family are rendered with touching detail and are captivating reading in their own right. But soon the complications of life lend an urgency to each character’s story that makes this book hard to put down. This novel deals with the quintessential issues of life—love in all its forms, the death of body and soul, the desire for meaning and happiness—set within the simplest of circumstances.

    "VERDICT: ­Saramago’s novel is a delightful creation of characters with universal appeal. Readers will want to explore his other works after reading this gem.” –Library Journal, Starred Review

     

  7. The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle makes a good case. 

     

  8. Read More

     

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  10. And elsewhere still, Calvino, who knew a thing or two about earth, insists that we’re not really terrestrials but extraterrestrials. Think about it—and take the occasion of these new editions to revel once more in his words, witty, sometimes even goofy, but always fertile.”—Gregory McNamee, Kirkus Reviews

     

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  12. theparisreview:

    “—There’s the raven! he shouted in his own language. The bullet struck him through the heart of the spread eagle embroidered on his jacket. The raven came down slowly, wheeling.”

    Italo Calvino, from “Last Comes the Raven.” Illustration by Joe Downing.