Weekly round up is back! Things we found interesting this week and hope that you will too! George Saunders, literacy, globe making, and truth in Jane Austen.
Goodreads interview with George Saunders: George Saunders has published his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, due out this Tuesday, February 14 (at least, according to Amazon). Todd Leopold interviews Saunders on behalf of Goodreads to discuss the inspiration for the novel, how he blended fact and fiction to tell the story, and his experience in writing it. For additional reading, here is a review of Lincoln in the Bardo for The New York Times by Colson Whitehead, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2017 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction (had to include that second award because I hadn't heard about it until just now).
Novels for adults with poor literacy: This is an older story that I came across, but I wanted to share it because it highlights a problem that I hadn't considered before: how do you write a novel for adults who struggle with literacy? I've taken my own literacy for granted and can't imagine struggling to read any book that I wanted. This article by The Guardian discusses Roddy Doyle, winner of the Man Booker prize, who wrote Dead Man Talking as a part of the Quick Reads initiative, which seeks to provide books by mainstream authors written to be accessible to the one in six adults in the UK who struggle with literacy.
The little-known art of globe-making: Bellerby & Co. is a small company in North London that specializes in creating globes—handmade, hand-painted globes. Atlas Obscura visited their workshop and learned how owner Peter Bellerby turned a gift idea for his father into a business. The care and attention to detail is truly remarkable: did I mention that they are hand-painted in watercolor? It may not be what we traditionally think of as "art," but each one looks like a masterpiece. On a related note, check out this link, also from Atlas Obscura, of maps and infographics of the 1800s. We really need to step up our game in the 21st century.
Truth and Jane Austen: This article by Devoney Looser covers the nature of truth in Austen's novels and the way that we in the twenty-first century view Austen herself and consume her works. Looser juxtaposes the heavily annotated version of Mansfield Park edited by Deidre Shauna Lynch against Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly to illustrate the different approaches to Austen scholarship. It's certainly a very interesting read and a few laugh-out-loud moments (read to the end to get those).