- Haruki Murakami's Passion For Jazz.
- Jenny Trout on 50 Shades Of Grey and BDSM.
- The Millions on Italo Calvino's excellent novel Cosmicomics.
- A new interview with Edward Snowden from The Guardian.
- io9's review of the excellent episode of Adventure Time that Masaaki Yuasa did last month.
- An excerpt from Laurie Penny's new book Unspeakable Things.
- A conversation about Haiti and Dominican Republic between Edwidge Danticat and Junot Diaz.
- The Millions reviews Murakami's new novel.
- Wallace Shawn's amazing "translation" of "liberal Hollywood!!!!!"'s justification of slaughtering children in Gaza.
- Ugliness, empathy, and Octavia Butler.
Here is the last few weekend’s worth of weekend reading…
- The Guardian offers a few excerpts from Susan Faludi’s The Terror Dream: Fear & Fantasy In Post 9-11 America. A lot of what is discussed in these excerpts were the sort of thing that freaked me out “post 9-11″ and prompted me to start writing notes for what would become War Prayers later.
- The Nation recently reprinted one of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut pieces, The Worst Addiction Of Them All.
- Two from The Quarterly Conversation: reviews of Junot Diaz and Vasily Grossman.
- The Little Professor offers a lengthy, and very thoughtful, review of Marc Bousquet’s How The University Works.
- Our weekly two from The Quarterly Conversation: reviews of Mari Akasaka and Jose Maria Eça de Queirós.
- Lewis Call’s “Sounds Like Kinky Business to Me”: Subtextual and Textual Representations of Erotic Power in the Buffyverse.
- Mother Jones interviews Marjane Satrapi.
- Three from The Quarterly Conversation: Natsume Soseki, Ron Currie Jr., and Selah Saterstrom.
Ready Steady Book interviews the always interesting Melinda Gebbie.
The New York Times reviews the new biography of Leonard Woolf.
National Public Radio discusses “wikinomics.”
Simon Armitage discusses his new translation of Sir Gawain & The Green Knight over at The Guardian:
The poem is also a ghost story, a thriller, a romance, an adventure story and a morality tale. For want of a better word, it is also a myth, and like all great myths of the past its meanings seem to have adapted and evolved, proving itself eerily relevant 600 years later. As one example, certain aspects of Gawain’s situation seem oddly redolent of a more contemporary predicament, namely our complex and delicate relationship with the natural world. The Gawain poet had never heard of climate change and was not a prophet anticipating the onset of global warming. But medieval society lived hand in hand with nature, and nature was as much an enemy as a friend. It is not just for decoration that the poem includes passages relating to the turning of the seasons, or detailed accounts of the landscape, or graphic descriptions of our dealings with the animal kingdom. The knight who throws down the challenge at Camelot is both ghostly and real. Supernatural, yes, but also flesh and blood. He is something in the likeness of ourselves, and he is not purple or orange or blue with yellow stripes. Gawain must negotiate a deal with a man who wears the colours of the leaves and the fields. He must strike an honest bargain with this manifestation of nature, and his future depends on it.