Despite the fact that Hindi is the language of more than 400 million people, Hindi fiction is rarely translated.
On Our Nightstands: May 2023
A behind-the-scenes look at what Public Books editors and staff have been reading this month.
Dual Use: When Technology Both Helps and Hurts
The struggle between the use of math for benevolent or malevolent purposes carries from at least WWII into today’s debates on AI.
Crossing “The Tartar Steppe”: A New Buzzati
Did this 1940 novel use symbolism not for aesthetic purposes, but, instead, to conceal its critique of Italian fascism from the regime’s censors?
Growing Up in the World Made by Femicide
A dystopian buddy story shows misogynist violence emerging spontaneously—almost casually—from male camaraderie, from ennui, from dipshit youth.
What the 1990s Did to America
The 1990s are usually seen as a moment of tranquility. Cold War won, business booming, history at an end. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the blurb-saturated present, authors can decry blurbs as corrupt and silly all they like. When they publish new books, however, they will be conscripted to marketing duties, obliged to solicit blurbs, and most will provide glowing snippets to hype their friends and colleagues too.
B-Sides: Haruki Murakami’s “After the Quake”
How, Murakami asks, can community after the earthquake be structured around self-reflection rather than cruelty?
“Our Hands”: Reading with DeafBlind Poet John Lee Clark
Clark’s poetry collection questions how those excluded from spoken conversation devise new avenues for transmission.
Long Cons: The Tragicomedy of Prestige TV
Shows like “The White Lotus” distract us with progressive politics, while stealing our eyeballs for the very people the shows lambaste.
“Let Us Gather Together”
Capital violently forces dispossessed people into markets, workplaces, and prisons. But such forced meetings could end capitalism itself.
B-Sides: Reading, Race, and “Robert’s Rules of Order”
The famous guidebook of rules, motions, and meetings has a darker history than you might think.
“Better Call Saul”: No Rise, Just Fall
The show explores the phenomenon Lauren Berlant called “cruel optimism,” where “objects you desire are obstacles to your flourishing.”
When Journalists Lose Public Support, Violence Abounds
2022 was the deadliest year on record for Mexican journalists. And this, in turn, portends dark days for journalists the world over.
Listening to #MeToo
“Speaking out” is what began the #MeToo movement. But fulfilling its goals will require listening.
Out of the Closet—and into the Coffin
Interview with the Vampire uses vampirism to reveal fantasies & fears of the social contagiousness of interracial & homosexual desires.
Ogden & Hardwick’s Everyday Enigmas
“Good afternoon, ma’am. Do you ever feel that it is so hard to know how to be happy?”
Nonprofit Neighborhoods: How Not to Fight Poverty
Wishing to end poverty “wherever it existed,” LBJ acted not with government aid, but with a non-profit. The results have been catastrophic.
Finding Your “Voice”: Author-Read Audiobooks
Does the author-read audiobook offer a perfect confluence between person, authorial persona, voice, and aesthetic form?
Milwaukee Socialists’ Triumph & Global Impact
In 1910, the new mayor didn’t promise speed, but pledged “to do all our limited means permit to make Milwaukee a better place for every citizen.”