Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Roundup

Bookslut found further evidence that publishers secretly look down on readers: "The recent Penguin edition of Wells's hilarious Tono-Bungay features this introductory sentence before the footnotes: 'Because this edition is intended for readers everywhere in the world, the notes explain allusions for which British readers need no explanation.'"

Apparently Belgium is thinking about splitting into two countries. What?! From the New York Times: "'We are two different nations, an artificial state created as a buffer between big powers, and we have nothing in common except a king, chocolate and beer,' said Filip Dewinter, the leader of Vlaams Belang, or Flemish Bloc, the extreme-right, xenophobic Flemish party, in an interview. 'It’s "bye-bye, Belgium" time.'" (Watch out for the ridiculous number of single and double quotation marks here!)

It would be a bad financial decision to travel to Europe right now.

Chinese author Ha Jin on writing in English: "I transported myself to another tradition, the one set up by Conrad and Nabokov. There are disadvantages. I will never feel at home in English, so the books involve so much labor and so much risk. I have to go over everything again and again, to work hard to make everything right. There’s an absence of spontaneity. If you read Conrad and Nabokov, you see it, too, but they know how to turn it to advantage; they create their own style. I don’t exactly try to emulate them, but I try to understand their logic, then find my own way."

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