Villainesses In Literature

•1,August 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Great Villainesses In Literature

Some of the most memorable characters in literature are those wicked baddies we adore to hate. Perhaps that’s because, on some level, we can relate to them (my husband would say some of us more than others, ahem). They’ve always been an essential part of good dramas, from fairy tales to modern classics. And, in my slightly jaded but always spot-on opinion, some of the best villains in literary history have been female, dating as far back as the monster Grendel’s mother in the epic Old English poem, Beowulf.

Read further @ Huffington Post

Interview with Fred D’Aguiar

•1,August 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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British-Guyanese poet, novelist and playwright, Fred D’Aguiar. His new novel, Children of Paradise, is inspired by the horrific events at Jonestown in 1978.

Listen to the interview @ CBC Books

On Women & Arabic Literature

•1,August 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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ArabLit Re-runs: Salwa Bakr on ‘Women and Arabic Literature’

Salwa Bakr, prominent Egyptian author and critic, explored the challenges facing women writers in a lecture at CASA (the Center for Arabic Study Abroad) at the American University in Cairo on Monday, November 12th. “A question like this reflects the kind of writing that society expects women to be able to produce,” she said.

Salwa Bakr is acclaimed for her portrayal of women’s personal lives and Egypt’s poorer social classes. Her first collection of short stories, Zinat at the President’s Funeral, was published in 1985, and she has since published six additional short story collections, seven novels and a play.

Four of her books have been translated into English, including The Wiles of Men and Other Stories, Such a Beautiful Voice, The Golden Chariot, and The Man from Bashmour, which was listed as one of the 105 best Arabic novels by the Arab Writers Union.

Bakr is a passionate speaker, committed to the power of literature to address and change social inequalities. She began by highlighting the discrepancy between women’s political and social gains over the past century and the limited roles still reserved for them in literature. She celebrated the broad participation of women in the 2011 revolution, emphasizing that whether recognized or not, women have participated in every stage of Egypt’s history.

Read further @ Arab Literature

A Beach Read & a Beach to read it on

•1,August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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8 Beach Reads and the Beaches to Read Them On

THE BEACH – All summer books are not created equal, and neither are the beaches we read them on. A light, breezy book is great on one of those hungover mornings in Miami. But we like to devote a whole quiet afternoon in Montauk to devouring a heavy, emotional page-turner. Wherever your beach destination is this summer, choose your book accordingly.

Read further @ Huffington Post

Your Favorite Hollywood Films Made In Senegal?

•1,August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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African artists got inspired by Hollywood movies and created their own interpretaion of e.g. American Beauty, The Matrix & Frida.

They sought to explore what Hollywood blockbusters like these would look like had they been filmed elsewhere — more specifically, in Africa.
Their dazzling series, called “Onomollywood,” is part Hollywood homage, part sociological experiment.

Read further @ Huffington Post

 

 

Review of Cole’s ‘Open City’ & ‘Every Day Is for the Thief’

•1,August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Open City

IF YOU DON’T enjoy the company of Teju Cole’s perpetually adrift narrators, it’s unlikely you’ll enjoy Open City (2011) or this year’s book, Every Day Is for the Thief. (The author published another version in Nigeria in 2007.)

The narrator of Open City is Julius, a young West African wandering the streets of New York City and Brussels; in Every Day, he is an unnamed traveler crisscrossing Lagos. The reader who enjoys a carefully constructed plot may also find these episodic structures devoid of purpose. Where is the narrative arc, such a reader may ask; what exactly is it that Julius searches for? What is he doing, besides remembering stuff, as he walks in New York and Brussels? And why does that other fellow spend so much time in Lagos if the city annoys him so much?

But, while his books may lack conventional plots, Cole’s characters are nevertheless driven by a chain of events, and his characters, if aimless, come fully equipped with histories. Julius, the narrator of Open City, is half-Nigerian, half-German while the narrator of  Every Day is a Nigerian living in the United States. Both men are in their early thirties, with highbrow intellectual interests and a weakness for solitary excursions. Julius, who studied in the United States with full scholarship in his youth, is a psychiatrist completing a fellowship. The narrator in Every Day also enjoyed a privileged education in the United States and has aspirations to be an author.

These young men have the intellectual means to analyze their exilic, marginal, postcolonial selves as well as they do thanks to the critical toolboxes of their first-world institutions. (They are familiar with the works of Derrida, Said, and Badiou.) They enjoy discussing issues, like migration and identity, on a theoretical level. Open City’s Julius meets Farouq, a Moroccan guy working at an internet cafe in Brussels, who boasts about having wanted “to be the next Edward Said” in his youth. Julius and Farouq discuss, among other things, Benedict Anderson’s views about the Enlightenment, the significance of sharia law in the post-9/11 world, and Paul de Man’s writings on insight and blindness. Farouq’s thesis on Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space was rejected by his department, a decision he believes was anti-Muslim. (The committee members convened nine days after 9/11.)

Read further @ LA Review Books

Fabergé Fractals: ornate art objects

•1,August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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These ornate art objects, “Fabergé Fractals” as they’re called, are the work of Scotland-based laser physicist-turned-artist and web developer Tom Beddard, who also goes by the name SubBlue. The art-meets-science maven used a formulaic method to yield his three-dimensional models, combining the 19th century decorative overload that is Fabergé with fractals’ self-perpetuating, never-ending patterns, self-similar at every scale.

Beddard explained his methodology to MyModernMet: “The 3D fractals are generated by iterative formulas whereby the output of one iteration forms the input for the next. The formulas effectively fold, scale, rotate or flip space. They are truly fractal in the fact that more and more detail can be revealed the closer to the surface you travel.

Reas further @ Huffington Post

 
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