New Cuentos para el andén Featuring Stories from Luis Mateo Díez, Jesús Ortega and Matías Candeira

A new issue of Cuentos para el andén is out, featuring stories from three authors I have never heard about: Luis Mateo Díez, Jesús Ortega and Matías Candeira. The last issue was enjoyable and I liked the idea of supporting short stories with a free quick read magazine.

Words without Borders Raising Kick Starter Funds for Mexican Drug War Issue

Words Without Borders has a Kick Starter campaign going for an new issue about the Mexican Drug War. This is going to be a great opportunity to read some of the authors in Mexico who are addressing the topic.Since the Drug War is somewhat recent as far as the translation process goes, not too much has come out in translation yet. (Martin Solares Black Minutes touches on it, but it is really more about the femecides in Juarez). Below is their description. You can contribute here.

In March 2012 Words without Borders: The Online Magazine for International Literature hopes to continue our tradition of exploring global events through international writing with a special Mexican Drug War issue guest edited by Carmen Boullosa, author of Leaving Tabasco, Cleopatra Dismounts, They’re Cows, We’re Pigs and numerous yet-to-be-translated books of prose and poetry. The issue will feature 11 pieces of fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction exploring the world of a modern-day Mexico held hostage by drug lords. Rafael Perez Gay, Luis Felipe Fabre, Rafael Lemus, Yuri Herrera, Juan Villoro, Fabrizio Mejia Madrid, Magali Tercero, Sergio Gonzalez Rodriguez, Hector de Mauleon, and Carmen Boullosa will delve into the personal and the global repercussions of a conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people.

In keeping with our mission to promote cultural understanding through literature, the issue will present the human stories behind the bloodshed and struggles that have ravaged Mexico for more than a decade. To get a sense of the work we do and how this issue will come together please take a look at our May 2011 Afghanistan Issue (published, in part, with Kickstarter’s help!) and our July and August 2011 Arab Spring Issues.

When a Librarian Goes Wrong? Nancy Pearl’s Amazon Deal

The Seattle Times today had a big piece about Seattle’s favorite librarian superstar Nancy Pearl and her new deal to publish a few out of print books every year for just the Kindle. I’ve listened to Pearl off and on for years on KUOW which is my local public radio station. She’s on all the time and used to be on once a week back in the day. While I respect her love of books, her tastes are a little to broad for me so the shows often have people calling in about fantasy series which I just can’t abide. That aside, she’s been hugely popular but now with the Amazon deal the local NW bookstores are quite unhappy. I can see why, too, because it looks as if she is throwing them under the bus with this deal. Perhaps if she had done something with Google books, which allows independent companies away of selling Google titles the back lash might not have been so large. For me, this is a small endeavor on her part so I’m not to up in arms about it, but she should be more cogniscent of how platform choices can control the marketplace and that vertical integration, which is Amazon’s model, can be anti competitive.

The reaction from the brick-and-mortar bookshops — which have struggled first against competition from the big-box chains, and then the price-cutting Amazon — was immediate.

By Friday, some 50 store managers and owners had emailed Thom Chambliss, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association in Eugene, Ore.

That’s a sizable number, considering the group has 160 to 165 total members.

“Consternation,” is how Chambliss describes the content of the emails.

Before taking a position on Pearl’s alliance with Amazon, the group says it wants to talk to Pearl — whom in 2011 it gave its “Lifetime Achievement Award” for the “Book Lust” series containing her book recommendations.

The Spanish E-Book Wars Have Started

El Pais has an article about the start of the Spanish e-book wars that Amazon has started. It is fairly typical of what we have seen in the US. The One big exception is how the Amazon is getting around the fixed book price law in Spain. Apparently, Amazon claims that they are selling direct from the author, versus from a publisher. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

Pero El emblema del traidor es una novela peculiar por otro motivo: se puede encontrar en edición electrónica por dos precios: 2,68 euros en Amazon.es y 7,99 euros en Casadellibro.com; algo que, en principio, viola la ley española de precio fijo (según la cual la misma edición de un libro no puede tener dos precios distintos dentro del territorio nacional). Gómez-Jurado ofrece una explicación al respecto: “En un caso lo vende directamente el autor, en el otro hay una editorial de por medio”.

Álvaro Pombo Wins the Nadal Prize with El temblor del héroe

Álvaro Pombo has won the Nadal Prize for El temblor del héroe, a book that is a criticism of the insensitivity of these times of crisis. That’s all I know about the book which will appear in February. You can read the notice from El Pais and from La Vanguardia.

From el Pais:

Además de -o por culpa de- la crisis, son tiempos en los que la gente ha perdido el entusiasmo hacia los otros; no se sabe qué actitud tomar frente a ellos; cuesta reaccionar ante cualquier drama, propio o ajeno. A un escritor de la alta sensibilidad de Álvaro Pombo no podía escapársele esa situación moral, que ha decidido volcar en un profesor universitario de Filosofía recién jubilado, atribulado en el Madrid actual, que asiste a una desgracia ante la que ni se inmuta. Así es el protagonista de El temblor del héroe, novela con la que el autor ha obtenido en Barcelona los 18.000 euros del 69º premio Nadal (que convoca ediciones Destino), decano de las letras españolas, que llegará a las librerías el 2 de febrero. Cierta añoranza por tiempos pasados más bienaventurados destila también Quan erem feliços, con la que otro veterano, aquí en lides periodísticas, el gerundense Rafael Nadal, se alzó con el 44º premio Josep Pla de prosa en catalán (6.000 euros), memorias de infancia con las que el galardón regresa a la no ficción tras 24 años de novela pura.

January 2012 Words Without Borders Out- The Apocalypse

A new Words Without Borders is out now featuring The Apocalypse , as this is the year of the Apocalypse(s). As always it looks interesting. I also noticed that they have added the original language along side of the translation which is really a nice touch. I’ll be able to read some of the Spanish language ones in the original.

With a nod to the doomsday prophecy, we’re launching 2012 with writing about apocalypse. In two riffs on the Old Testament, André-Marcel Adamek builds a Belgian ark, while Fernando Paiva eulogizes the Creator. Ofir Touché Gafla counts down the hours in a runaway city. Sławomir Mrożek awaits the end of days at McDonald’s. Hector G. Oesterheld and Solano Lopez depict a deadly snowfall in Buenos Aires. Gyrðir Elíasson sees banned books in Iceland’s future. Antônio Xerxenesky exposes a conspiracy to rewrite a famous ending. And Mexico’s Ambar Past provides an incantatory oracle. We trust you’ll enjoy these apocalyptic visions; and if not, well, it’s not the end of the world. Elsewhere, Luis Nuño slips out for a smoke, Juan Villoro misses connections, and Alber Sabanoglu heads to sea.

When Borges Lost the Premio Nacional Because of Politics

The Nobel wasn’t the only prize Borges lost because of politics. He also lost the Premio Nacional in 1941, the year of El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan. Revista Ñ has an article about the ins and outs of his loss. Mostly, though Borges was ahead of his time.

La pérdida del premio acaso no fuera tan inesperada. En la bibliográfica que publicó en Sur en mayo de 1942, apenas antes de que se conociera el dictamen del jurado, Bioy Casares fue clarividente y se adelantó a los reparos que el libro recibiría: “Estos ejercicios de Borges producirán tal vez algún comentador que los califique de juegos. ¿Querrá expresar que son difíciles, que están escritos con premeditación y habilidad, que en ellos se trata con pudor los efectos sintácticos y los sentimientos humanos, que no apelan a la retórica de matar niños, denunciada por Ruskin, o de matar perros, practicada por Steinbeck?”. Captando el clima de época, Bioy conjetura que “tal vez algún turista, o algún distraído aborigmpensa nacional, a una obra exótica y de decadencia (…) juzgamos que hizo bien.”

Best Book of 2011 from Elvira Navarro, Carlos Yushimito, Ana María Shua and other Spanish Language Authors

Canal-l has put together a blog that lists the favorite books of 2011 by various Spanish Language authors such as Elvira Navarro, Carlos Yushimito, Ana María Shua. It is an interesting list and I have even read one book, Alberto Fuget’s Missing. Una investigación which I thought was a great book and one of my favorites of the year. Another I have been reading for a while, The Complete Short Stories of Lydia Davis. As with all the lists from outside of the US it is always fascinating to see how many books from outside the Spanish speaking world they choose.