Will Evans, stalwart literary advocate and publisher of Deep Vellum books, is the go-to guy for all things book-related and has a slew of new ones for consideration, and even admits to watching some TV during quarantine.
Duolingo: My love for the world's biggest language learning program has been rekindled in early 2020 & intensified during the lockdown. In January, I started learning Welsh and Ukrainian, while brushing up on my Spanish and Russian. Tempted to start Romanian (!) or Korean (!) next, while wishing Icelandic was on there!
Book Cult: looking for your next favorite book or a new book club? This is Deep Vellum Bookstore's book club led by Cristina Rodriguez, who is leading a virtual discussion this month on Hilary Leichter's Temporary (Coffee House). Order Temporary from us at Deep Vellum Books & join the discussion!
Movies: "prestige television" wears me out & leaves me empty, but I've been digging into movies more this year than in the past several (maybe because my babies are a little bit bigger now, maybe because I've always been drawn to the powerful similar impacts on me of both novels & movies), and so I'm re-watching old favorites (Army of Shadows) and discovering new ones (Long Days Journey into Night) on the Criterion Collection, and buying "virtual movie tickets" to rent the movies that would otherwise be showing at the Texas Theatre right now (you can too!).
Books Books Books: I have a bad habit these days of reading too many things at once, & the current situation has not helped with that. So aside from holding in my hands the brand-new copies of Above Us the Milky Way—us at Deep Vellum's first English-original AND hardcover novel release— I've also been reading several books whose topics might depress me as much as the current pandemic crisis but which provide a beautiful outlet through the magic of storytelling: the staggeringly heartbreaking Feebleminded by Ariana Harwicz (translated by Annie McDermott & Carolina Orloff, Charco Press) and the Icelandic instant classic on the global climate crisis: Andri Snaer Magnason’s On Time and Water (translated by Lytton Smith, Open Letter Books). And for some additionally peppy reading, I've been slowly making my way through the Russian edition of the brand-new 900+ page novel by one of my favorite contemporary writers, Mikhail Elizarov, The Earth (?????), which is all about the rituals of death in Russia. Joy through misery! But also just read the delightful Under Milk Wood by the Welsh legend Dylan Thomas in the New Directions edition, and that was a true linguistic joy to read.