Posted by: oneyearbook | May 22, 2009

Link up

Some interesting book/writing links from around the ‘net:

First off, the Guardian asks, in their books blog, who the most famous fictional character is – related, in some ways, to my question about your all-time favorite characters in the spring contest. In the blog suggestions of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Harry Potter are prominent (although the author suggests Don Quixote, something which is poo-poohed in the comments). The commenters try to make an argument for either God or the Devil, but others seem to suggest that mythical/legendary/religious figures shouldn’t be included in the fictional category, which leaves King Arthur and Robin Hood out of the argument as well. Batman, Mickey Mouse, and Charlie Brown are also suggested. Unclear if someone like Winnie-the-Pooh – based on a real bear, after all – would count as fictional.

On the New Republic John McWhorter suggests that audiences would get more out of Shakespeare – rather than dutifully yawning through productions of his plays – if they were done in a modern, poetic translation. He advances the theory that Shakespeare’s language is so different from our current vernacular that a translation has become necessary; those who watch Shakespeare’s plays translated into other languages seem to enjoy them more than those who sit through them in his 16th-century English. (Link via the Morning News.) As an example he links here, to a site providing translations of Shakespeare into modern English. I thought the translations were interesting – but would have preferred to see them sitting side-by-side with the original, so I could better compare.

The Believer has a nice interview with John Crowley, one of my favorite authors. He talks some about the weird divide bookstores/publishers make between ‘fantasy/sci-fi’ books and ‘mainstream’ books; his books have fallen on both sides of the divide at one time or another. Lately I’ve been wondering about how that decision gets made, especially when I’m at the library and I take out something from the sci-fi/fantasy section and think, This was just a book. Anybody could have read this book and liked it, not just people that like swords and sorcery. What was it doing in that section in the first place? Strange stuff.

And, a cat has a blog. (Seriously, though, there’s a cat that’s gaining followers on Twitter almost as fast as Ashton Kutcher. Wondermark is prescient.)

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