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By C. Max Magee
The shortlist for a still fairly new, but very worthwhile award has been announced. The Best Translated Book Award highlights work in translation (of course), a corner of the literary world that gets far less attention in the U.S. than it deserves.
“The Best Translated Book Awards launched in 2007 as a way of bringing attention to great works of international literature. Original translations (no reprints or retranslations) published between December 2009 and November 2010 are eligible for this year’s award. Quality of the original book and the artistry of the English translation are the criteria used in determining the winning titles.
Thanks to the support of Amazon.com, each winning author and translator will receive a $5,000 cash prize.”
On this day in 1880 Sean O’Casey was born, in the working-class ghettos of Dublin that he would later make famous in such plays as The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock, and The Plough and the Stars. Although now less-known, O’Casey’s six-volume autobiography is as personal and compelling as the plays. Frank McCourt, who would cover the same sort of ground a half-century later in Angela’s Ashes, described O’Casey’s autobiography as a revelation:
By Michael Bourne
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Forty years ago today, on March 21, 1971, Hunter S. Thompson and a Chicano activist attorney named Oscar Zeta Acosta drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to talk over an article Thompson was writing about the barrios of East L.A. When the account of their journey appeared in Rolling Stone in November of that year, Thompson and Acosta had morphed into Raoul Duke and his 300-pound Samoan attorney and the trunk of their car, the Great Red Shark, had become a rolling drug dispensary:
We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers…and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.
I can still remember sitting in the basement of my parents’ house in Northern California, practically whizzing myself with delight at that dizzying list of pharmaceuticals. I was fourteen.
In hardcover, the usual suspects, and more
By Daisy Maryles
What’s new in the hardcover fiction bestsellers of 2010? Very little. Almost every author in the fiction top 30 has been on these charts in previous years—most several times. The sole exception is the #1 fiction bestseller, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, with sales of 1.9 million. Stieg Larsson enjoyed a quadruple play, heading fiction, mass market, trade paper, and an e-book list of bestsellers.
Still, a number of veteran bestselling novelists dominate. Chief among them is James Patterson. With his stable of coauthors, he managed to rack up six of the top 25 fiction bestsellers, with combined sales of 3,332,263. Clive Cussler had four bestsellers in 2010, with combined sales of 1,006,132; Nora Roberts had three, with combined sales of 900,000 copies. And the bestselling female author last year was Janet Evanovich; she had two of the top 15 bestsellers, with sales of more than 1.5 million.
The only novel to make a second appearance in the top 15 is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. A debut fiction hitting the one million–plus sales mark for the second year in a row, it is also the only hardcover that did not miss a single showing on the 2010 weekly charts.
This week marks a significant transition for The New York Times as we introduce digital subscriptions. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform. The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications.
This change comes in two stages. On Thursday, we rolled out digital subscriptions to our readers in Canada, which will enable us to fine-tune the customer experience before our global launch. On March 28, we will begin offering digital subscriptions in the United States and the rest of the world.