Best of the Week: January 3 – 6, 2017

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TODAY: In 1954, the first public demonstration of a machine translation system – the Georgetown-IBM experiment – is held in New York at the head office of IBM.

  • From Paul Auster to Jenny Zhang, 25 of the most anticipated releases of 2017. | Vulture
  • In which Rosmarie Waldrop, “who claims to be both poet and translator,” is made to be “a veritable nymphomaniac of narcissism.” | OmniVerse
  • “Berger’s death invites us to consider the role of the popularizer.” Jo Livingstone on why Ways of Seeing should be only the beginning of John Berger’s legacy—not its end. | New Republic
  • This year’s 30 Under 30 list includes writers Emma Cline, Yaa Gyasi, Wesley Lowery, among others. | Forbes
  • “In its antiquity, its pageantry and its evocation of deep English history… I wondered if seeing swan upping firsthand could help me understand a little more about the state I was in.” Helen Macdonald attempts to understand post-Brexit England through an antiquated tradition. | The New York Times Magazine
  • What’s the difference between rot and decay? On Alice Oswald’s depiction of Tithonus and prose writing. | Los Angeles Review of Books
  • On the novels and belated English reception of Carmen Boullosa, “simply, one of the great writers of our time.” | Full Stop
  • Why we continue to read and publish poetry, “language that’s focused in such a way that true meaning and emotion is redolent in the air.” | The New York Times
  • “These orations come to us as the lucubrations of a solitary wise man, grappling with American history, with race, with fate and freedom. They suggest writerliness.” On President Obama’s speeches. | n+1
  • A history of Chinese science fiction, from works by “Old Fisherman by a Deserted River” to The Three-Body Problem. | Asia Times
  • “But I must, for the first thing, give utterance to a whole row of thanksgivings for your long-yearned, hard-hoped, fast-sent and all- surpassing answer to my letter, with all its flippancy and hardboiled guyness.” On the letters Cesare Pavese wrote Anthony Chiuminatto to practice his American slang. | The Paris Review
  • The National Book Foundation has announced the Book Rich Environment Initiative, which will combat “book deserts” by donating books to residents of public housing. | Los Angeles Times
  • Beyond Chris Martin’s tepid interpretation: On the extent to which Rumi’s Muslim teaching shaped his ideas and his poetry. | The New Yorker
  • “Men write dark stories all the time, and rarely is that darkness obsessed over… But when women write dark, all of a sudden it’s a thing. It’s like: Why so dark? I mean, have you seen the world? It’s an appropriate response.” A profile of Roxane Gay. | Vogue
  • Fever Dream, Marlena, and more: Sara Nović selects 25 highly-anticipated books by female authors coming out this year. | Elle

And on Literary Hub:

The Murakami effect: On the homogenizing dangers of easily translated literature · Why every aspiring writer should go see Paterson · A Sherlock Holmes expert on BBC’s Sherlock and the perils of reinvention · A bookseller’s log of notable customers, with illustrations · On the many bad moms of Charles Dickens · Why all of Simon & Schuster shouldn’t suffer for its dubious book deal · Can science fiction save the earth from climate change? · Letters from an invented writer: “James Tiptree, Jr.” writes to Joanna Russ · Emily Fridlund selects 11 classics of the new Gothic canon · How to build a powerful community of brown female voices

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