July 3, 2013 |
If Wednesday's Google Doodle looks a little buggy, if you will, that's because it's meant to celebrate Franz Kafka, the “Metamorphosis” author who would have turned 130 today. Born on July 3, 1883, in Prague, Kafka spent much of his life as a law clerk in that city. He died in 1924 a virtual unknown -- he even told his friend Max Brod to destroy his unpublished novels, which included “The Trial” and “The Castle.” Luckily, Brod failed to comply with his requests. The Google Doodle alludes to the famous opening of “ The Metamorphosis ,” which reads: “One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.” With his ineffable sense of the tragic and absurd, Kafka would have likely been skeptical of the Internet, a tool meant to foster human proximity that has most of us spending days in front of a screen.
May 28, 2013 |
Israeli author Amos Oz has been named the recipient of the prestigious Franz Kafka Prize, selected by an international jury from a short list of 12 globally recognized writers. The $10,000 prize, awarded by the Franz Kafka Society in the Czech Republic, recognizes an author's entire body of work, and rewards those whose "work addresses readers regardless of their origin, nationality, and culture, like the work by Franz Kafka. " Their books must also have been translated into Czech.
April 21, 2013
Name your favorite, the one book that most sticks in your mind. Over nearly four years, photographer Catherine Wagner made that request of friends, acquaintances and outright strangers. She kept a tally on her iPhone and turned the top vote-getters into the spine of her latest work, "trans/literate," an homage to books - the cardboard and paper sort that some predict won't survive the 21st century. The list of titles and authors reads like an exceptionally weighty version of English 101. "Most people went back to their teenage years, to high school or college," Wagner said.
February 27, 2013 |
Miriam Katin's “Letting It Go” (Drawn & Quarterly: 160 pp., $24.95) is my kind of graphic memoir: loose, impressionistic, a portrait of the artist's inner life. Keyed by the decision of her adult son Ilan to take up permanent residence in Berlin, it is, in part, the story of her coming to terms, at long last, with her legacy as a survivor of the Holocaust. But without minimizing this part of the story, “Letting It Go” is much more than that - a meditation on love, on family, and an inquiry into art. Functioning in some sense as a sketchbook, Katin's story is delightfully open-ended, less a look back at a particular situation than a series of reflections from the trenches of her life as it is lived.
December 5, 2011 |
Franz Kafka hardly conjures a light, romantic image. But a summer tour of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic highlights the love affair between the author and the little-known Dora Diamant. The story unfolds in the streets of Prague, Czech Republic, where the German author was born, moves to the Jewish Quarter of Krakow, Poland, where Diamant organized plays and ends in Berlin, where the couple lived the Bohemian life in the early 1920s. Kathi Diamant (no relation), who wrote the book "Kafka's Last Love" and heads the Kafka Project at San Diego State University, leads the Magical Mystery Literary History Tour that includes meeting with Kafka scholars and descendants of Dora Diamont too. Proceeds from the trip support the nonprofit Kafka Project, which seeks to recover lost letters, journals and notebooks by the author.
December 5, 2010 |
The King of Kahel Tierno Monénembo, translated from the French Nicholas Elliott Amazon Crossing: 289 pp., $13.95 paper It's "The Little Prince" with a hint of "Curious George" and a smidgen of "Gulliver's Travels. " Based on the real life of 19th century explorer Olivier de Sanderval, this novel travels outward from the dreams of an 8-year-old boy who would be king. When he gets old enough to make his dreams reality, Olivier departs, at age 40 in 1879, from the port of Marseille, France, to colonize his corner of Africa, Fouta Djallon.