5 Literary Links: Spies Watched Doris Lessing, Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji, Top 9 Historical Novels, London Lit Weekend, & Summer Reading

Here are Five Literary Links worth pursuing.  Check out the following articles and essays.

Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing

1. Richard Norton-Taylor at The Guardian reports that MI5 spied on Doris Lessing for 20 years.  He writes,:

MI5 targeted the Nobel prize-winning author Doris Lessing for 20 years, listening to her phone conversations, opening her mail and closely monitoring her movements, previously top secret files reveal. The files show the extent to which MI5, helped by the Met police special branch, spied on the writer, her friends and associates, long after she abandoned communism, disgusted by the crushing of the Hungarian uprising in 1956.

This article is well-worth reading.

The Tale of Genji 9780393047875_3002. At the Washington Post, Steven Moore reviews Denis Washburn’s new translation of Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji, the eleventh-century Japanese novel.  I am reading this translation and  loving it.  (And it’s only $2.85 on the Kindle.)

Georgette Heyer devils-cub3. At Barnes and Noble Reads, you will enjoy  Philippa Gregory’s “Top 9 Historical Novels.”  Among them are Georgette Heyer’s Devil’s Cub, Mary Renault’s The King Must Die, and Namoi Mitchison’s The Corn King and the Spring Queen.

london lit weekend llw-kp-banner650x2264. Are you longing to attend the London Lit Weekend curated by the TLS (Oct. 3-4)?  The speakers will include  “Melvyn Bragg, the novelists Claire Lowdon and Jonathan Coe, the translator Ann Goldstein (whose translations of Elena Ferrante have worked their way onto many a summer reading list), as well as the philosopher Mark Rowlands (whose books include Can Animals be Moral? and Running with the Pack), and Max Porter, whose forthcoming novel Grief is the Thing with Feathers breathes new life into Ted Hughes’s Crow.”

light summer-reading5.  At the Wall Street Journal, Lee Siegel provides a history of the tradition of summer reading in his fascinating essay, “The End of the Ambitious Summer Reading List.”  (N.B.  I find Siegel slightly pompous:   He thinks no one reads classics in the summer.  Heavens, all he has to do is read some blogs or go to Goodreads!)