paper trail

"Fun Home" wins

Ha Jin

The stage adaptation of Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home won the Tony for Best Musical.

In response to Book Expo America’s spotlight on China, Jonathan Franzen, Ha Jin, Francine Prose, Murong Xuecun, and A.M. Homes staged a protest on the steps of the New York Public Library, reading works by Chinese authors who had been imprisoned and censored, and holding pictures of artist Ai Weiwei and the Tibetan writer Woeser. At the New Yorker, Christopher Beam reports on the dissent, and reaffirms what many noticed when walking by the large, front-and-center China section at BEA: that it did not receive many visitors. Of the China events, Beam writes: “If anything, the China-themed events highlighted the failure of Chinese publishers to sell books abroad, and reflected the challenges the country faces as it tries to improve its public image and export its culture around the world.”

The PressGazette gives an overview of Alan Rusbridger’s just-concluded twenty-year tenure as the head of The Guardian, giving special attention to the paper’s coverage of Edward Snowden and Wikileaks, and also dwelling on Rusbridger’s approach to digital media. As the publication’s daily print circulation has dropped from 400,000 to 180,000, and daily digital visits have reached 7,000,000, Guardian media has lost £300 million over the past decade. But Rusbridger “clearly sees the huge losses as a price worth paying to secure the future of The Guardian.” He says: “We made £80m in digital last year and I think we are budgeting to make £100m in digital this year. That would be roughly the transition point at which digital was earning more than non-digital.”

When P.T. Anderson’s adaptation of Inherent Vice came out late last year, some cinephilic sleuths thought they had spotted the notorious media-shunning and photograph-phobic Thomas Pynchon himself in the film, following a statement from star Josh Brolin that the author had made a cameo. But the person some have said bears an uncanny resemblance to what Pynchon is now supposed to look like is not, in fact, Pynchon. He is the actor Charley Morgan, who has appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street and Lincoln, among other movies.

The Atlantic sheds light on Jeb Bush’s and Hillary Clinton’s favorite books.

At The Guardian, Marta Bausells gives an overview of books that got their start on Kickstarter—and picks “ten of the best crowdfunded literary projects,” which includes a special edition of Don Quixote and a self-published illustrated book about black cats.

Gideon Lewis-Kraus has written a thoughtful article about the quest for computerized translation, and the questions it raises. As Susan Bernofsky—who has published English translations of Kafka, Robert Walser, and others—tells him, “They create the impression that translation is not an art.”