“Kuwaiti authorities have banned a book by Russian literary giant Fyodor Dostoyevsky, one of nearly 1,000 titles blacklisted at a festival which opened Wednesday in the Gulf state.

Saad al-Anzi, who heads the Kuwait International Literary Festival, told AFP the information ministry had banned 948 books including Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, a novel set in 19th century Russia that explores morality, free will and the existence of God.

Dostoyevsky joins a growing list of writers banned in the relatively moderate Gulf state, where a conservative trend in politics and society is rising.

More than 4,000 books have been blacklisted by Kuwait’s information ministry over the past five years, including Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez”

Yahoo

The editors of The New York Times Book Review choose the best fiction and nonfiction titles this year.

“A spate of women-authored speculative fiction imagines detailed worlds of widespread infertility, criminalized abortion, and flipped power dynamics”

The Atlantic

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“‘You’re hearing about everything that dies, you’re not hearing about everything that’s still alive,’ she says. ‘If you think it’s dead already then you’re not going to be bothered. I almost think people gravitate towards “It’s too late,” because then they don’t have to put themselves out.’ And then, as if casually reminding me just why her fiction, that patient, painstaking evocation of worlds, makes sense as a response to an emergency, she says: ‘Only if you love something will you inconvenience yourself to work on its behalf.'”

The Guardian

“When Walt Whitman was a Washington correspondent for The New York Times, the Capitol dome, like the nation, was still under construction”

The New York Times

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Don DeLillo

In a recent interview published in The Guardian, Xan Brooks talks to American author and playwright Don DeLillo about the contemporary political landscape in America:

“‘Oh, I think whatever’s going on now seems unique […] ‘The question is whether the situation is terminal. I’m very reluctant to talk about Trump, simply because everybody else is. We’re deluged with information about Trump on every level – as a man, as a politician. But what’s significant to me is that all of his enormous mistakes and misstatements disappear within 24 hours. The national memory lasts 48 hours, at best. And there’s always something else coming at us down the pipeline. You can’t separate it all out. You get lost in the deluge.’

So what’s the prognosis? DeLillo, God help us, is as discombobulated as anyone. ‘It’s hard to know. I think it would take a great shift of events for the country to restore its balance, to restore its consciousness, and to think about things the way we did during the Obama administration.’ He sighs. ‘Right now, I’m not sure the situation is recoverable.'”

The Guardian

Watching The Cold War, a 24-episode documentary series produced for CNN back in 1998. Narration by Kenneth Branagh. Fascinating.

Stephen King, Needful Things (1991)
Stephen King, Needful Things (1991)
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lood. Someone’s reflection in a bathroom mirror. A man in a wide-brimmed hat. These are my fragmented recollections of the 1993 adaptation of Stephen King’s Needful Things, which starred Ed Harris and Max Von Sydow. I caught the end of it on television late one night when I was around ten years old, and these anxious impressions are all that I remember. Actually, that’s not true. I also had the impression that the film’s themes were somehow too grownup for me at the time, remote from the day-to-day concerns of a child still in primary school. Marriage, relationships, mortgages and finance, that sort of thing.

By the age of ten I was already familiar with King’s novel, which had been published back in 1991. In fact, I owned two copies. A shiny paperback published in the mid 1990s, and a hardback that came my way shortly after that. There was a period during my childhood and adolescence when King was about the only author that I read; I avidly collected his books and ordered them neatly on a shelf in my bedroom. But I didn’t read Needful Things back then. I got my kicks reading about killer clowns and supernatural forces, and just wasn’t interested in the idea of a demon shopkeeper mortgaging people’s souls. (more…)