The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Myanmar pro-Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi presided over the country’s first international literary festival over the weekend. The Irrawaddy Literary Festival in Rangoon featured such international authors as Vikram Seth and William Dalrymple, along with around 80 Myanmarese writers, most of whom have not been translated into English. The festival comes as Myanmar (also known as Burma) begins to relax its censorship laws.
“All over Dr. Seuss’s beloved children’s books, his characters sport distinctive, colorful headwear — unless they are the kinds of creatures that have it sprouting naturally from their heads in tufted, multitiered and majestically flowing formations.” — The New York Times, in honor of an exhibit of Seussian headgear opening today at the New York Public Library.
NFL players re-imagined as Dickens characters, from McSweeney’s: Otis Grigsby “maintains a cheerful outlook on life despite being much afflicted by gout, baldness, and an old harpoon injury.”
In a profile of the French spy novelist Gerard de Villiers, New York Times writer and Middle East expert Robert F. Worth makes the surprising assertion that the Lockerbie bombing was carried out by Iran — and not by Libya, and quotes a CIA official who says “the best intelligence” points to the Iranians. This has been something of an unconfirmed conspiracy theory for years.
Jared Diamond, the popular anthropologist with an endearingly apparent comb-over and a tendency toward overgeneralization, is in trouble with the indigenous rights group Survival International because of his new book The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? Director Stephen Corry wrote, “Describing tribal peoples as more violent than industrialized societies sounds much like the arguments put forward by missionaries, explorers and colonial governments from the 16th century onward.”
Ernest Hemingway’s garden gate is up for auction.
The Most Important Books Coming Out This Week:
My Brother’s Book is the final book from Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, who died last year. My Brother’s Book is a dreamy, gorgeous ode to his brother that draws on the illustrations of William Blake and on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.
Incarnadine is the long-awaited second poetry collection from Mary Szybist, whose remarkable 2003 collection Granted was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
How to Choose a Husband: And Make Peace With Marriage is a provocative — and deeply insidious — call for women to “return to femininity” from Suzanne Venker, the author of the infamous essay “The War on Men.”