Take a bunch of famous books, shred them into pieces using NLP, and analyze how they describe the characters. The result? Really obvious relationships between how authors treat characters of different genders. This is a cool data visualization project, and the hand drawn charts and images make it unique.
In which Branko lines up historical economic indices with the lives of characters of famous novels to explain how their personal economic situations change in the books. The examples given are from the US and England and France. Can you think of works of literature from XX Latin America that have this kind of info about their character’s income or wealth? Would love to see what that looks like.
An in depth profile of one of the foremost translators of Chinese science fiction, and one of the authors he worked with. The story describes Ken Liu’s experience translating Liu Cixin’s Three Body Problem, and the political minefields that the translator had to traverse to convey the underlying message of the original work to a group of readers that would otherwise have no access to the stories. While I read the book, and enjoyed it, not knowing Chinese history makes it really hard to grasp the nuance and the references as explained in this article, but, honestly, from my perception of how Chinese censorship works I’d be surprised if translating books like this one wasn’t a massive effort.
The process by which public libraries decide which books are to be kept longer and which should make room for new ones is fascinating.
I’ve always hated reading translations. It is really surprising that mainstream USians have pushed back on this for so long.
If you haven’t read Borges’ Pierre Menard (that’s the original, for an English translation, click here), you should. The text provides amazing commentary on authorship, creativity, and intellectual property. In his piece, Alvaro takes it a step further - Pierre Menard’ing Menard, and rewriting the story as an allegory of computer science in the spirit of Borges. It’s just amazing.
Technology is also interesting sometimes, not just dismal and apocalyptic. The printing press is a good example, and Smith starts his story there, leading all the way to today’s tooling. A somewhat misleading title, as it actually covers way more than just mathematic typography.
I have never read Cory Doctorow’s novels. He was recently in a Planet Money episode about his change of heart about copyright laws. It was really good, and I’m surprised I didn’t share it after I heard it! This post about his newest book, and the economics behind it, made me want to read his work. I have found myself enjoying fiction as much as non-fiction lately. It is harder to find books whose stories touch on issues that you’re interested in, since you’re not looking at the “business” or “science” section, but there are plenty of good things to read. In this case, it is the economics of coordination.
Hannah made fun of me for reading this without knowing who E.B. White is. Sometimes, even she forgets that I’m not American, and that I don’t know everything about this culture. I read this essay because it strangely showed up on Hacker News. I still have not decided what I think about it.