Monday, 23 June 2008

Grab Bag

Hey folks, just wanted to post a couple of interesting bits and bobs I've seen over the past week. In no particular order:

I'm reviewing the latest from Sicilian bestselling author, Andrea Camilleri - and having a great time, too. The best bit is seeing how the very talented translator, Stephen Sartarelli has rendered the doggerel nonsense dialogue that the star of the show, Inspector Montalbano, has with his less illustrious colleagues. The Camilleri 'Fans Site' (sic) is a great one, in that it has a whole page dedicated to the trials and tribulations of translating -whoa- a work written in dialect, in this case, Sicilian. The age-old question is, 'How do you render dialect into another language and culture?', and these translators have a good whack at answering it.

Also, staying on a positive note, I thought that this was a lovely article in the NYT about author Naguib Mahfouz, who died in 2006. It's a review of a new book published posthumously, Cairo Modern, has been translated by William M. Hutchins. It's published, tellingly, by the American University in Cairo Press, which says to me that no one else would publish this Nobel prizewinner - though maybe I'm being unfair.

This is where things start getting silly, with this nasty, snobby heap of mucus-smeared... ugh. You'll get the idea. Guardian blogger, Chas Newkey-Burden, rants about how distasteful he finds second-hand books. Needless to say, readers took care of him. But two questions remain: 1. how does one become a Guardian blogger? and 2. is Chas Newkey-Burden a real name?

While I was there, I did the unthinkable; I clicked an ad that appeared in the margins. I'm a bad person, I know. But you would have, too! It read: Novel Writing Software. Character pro software helps you build better characters. For windows.

Really, I'm speechless. Where to begin?! So, I went through to the site and learned that yes, in fact, there is such complete twaddle as novel-writing software. Created, tellingly, by Typing Chimp Software, this package is described as, and I quote, 'the industry standard for building the perfect character every time!' (my emphasis).

Over and OUT, my friends, over and out.