Weekly News Roundup, 3rd April 2015: Judges Bicker, Joke’s on You!

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happiest of Fridays! Hard to believe we are already entering the fourth month of 2015. But this stretch of spring means we’re well into literary awards season, as well as awards-speculation. Close to our heart, Three Percent‘s Best Translated Book Award is just iiiiinches away from announcing the long-awaited longlist. Want some clues? Tickle your curiosity here and here. And the judges for the United States-based National Book Award have been announced. And in the Morning News’ Tournament of Books, judge Steven Merritt has ruffled feathers with disparaging reviews of Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light we Cannot See. 

Two days ago, you may have been subject to a saran-wrapped toilet, a tee-peed house, or—most likely—a goofy headline in your news feed (like this one from the Paris Review, which, sadly, is 100% fabulated). Is April Fool’s even funny in a post-Internet era? The Atlantic posits that the epistemological black hole of the Internet has ruined the buffoonery of this ill-conceived “holiday.”

What’s that smell in the air? Swear it isn’t “floral.” In comparison with other languages, the English language is remarkably bad at describing scents—all the more reason to diversify your linguistic capabilities.

In France, the Radio France strike—one that encompasses a wide array of French audible news and cultural offerings—enters its third week.  So that means a lot more music on the airwaves, for now. And at the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik on the perfect imperfection of translation: the Proustian kind, in particular (How did a French book become a classic in English?). Interesting read, especially in conjunction with the Millions’ article on the difficulties of translation, especially from Chinese. Meanwhile, Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura interviews at Bookslut about her latest bookThe Fall of Language in the Age of English—especially interesting read together with the book’s review posted on the blog but a few weeks ago!

Finally, this week marked the sad passing of Swedish Nobel laureate and poet Tomas Transtromer, who died of stroke at age 83.