Until he was 21, Orhan Pamuk wanted to become a painter. Thereafter, he turned to the art of “painting with words”: he became a novelist. In his six Norton lectures the Nobel laureate reflects on writing and reading fiction. THE NAÏVE AND THE SENTIMENTAL NOVELIST (Harvard Univ., $22.95) is a distinction drawn by Schiller; some writers proceed spontaneously, seemingly without forethought, others work with self-conscious attention to craft and effect. Pamuk believes all novelists are a bit of both types, as their work also appeals to both the visual and the verbal imaginations. While the writer’s search for le mot juste is famous, Pamuk concentrates on the need for l’image juste. Novels work by accretion of details, each of which is visualized by the writer and then the reader as if seen from the characters’ points of view. Novels also have a knack for giving us a world at once unique and familiar--that’s one reason we read them. Another is to find the elusive “center” where all the details merge into a coherent meaning. We search for such a center in life; we’re more apt to find it in a literary novel, such as one of Pamuk’s, or the one he considers “the greatest novel of all time,” Anna Karenina.

The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) Cover Image
By Orhan Pamuk, Nazim Dikbaş (Translator)
ISBN: 9780674050761
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Harvard University Press - November 1st, 2010

The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist: Understanding What Happens When We Write and Read Novels (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307745248
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - November 1st, 2011

To tell someone how to find your house, you can direct them to go left then right, or you can say “head east for half a mile.” These two options are available to English speakers, that is. For Australian aboriginal speakers of Guuga  Yimithirr, only the latter mode is possible, as their language lacks an “egocentric” vocabulary of “left, “right,” “in front of,” and “behind.” In his fascinating trip THROUGH THE LANGUAGE GLASS (Metropolitan, $28), Guy Deutscher, author of The Unfolding of Language, investigates how language shapes, expands, and constrains human world views—or doesn’t. Does speaking a language that genders objects reflect a greater sensitivity to essential male and female traits than one, like English, in which all objects are “it”? Do speakers of languages that combine nouns and verbs see the world differently from those who need two words to describe an object in action? To address questions of individual languages and universal experience, Deutscher focuses on colors. “Why is the sky blue?” might seem to be a basic, formative question, but for linguists the first inquiry is “where is the ‘blue’?” Blue—or just “blue”—is absent from Homer’s epics, rich in descriptions and other colors though they are.

Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312610494
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - August 30th, 2011

The collection of the National Museum of the American Indian represents a staggeringly wide range of peoples, eras, and artifacts. Looking back some 13,000 years, the Museum has gathered objects representing native cultures from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic. This is truly an INFINITY OF NATIONS (Smithsonian, $29.99), and this handsome volume, edited by the Museum’s associate curator, Cécile R. Ganteaume, has made it both accessible and fascinating. Considering its subject-stretch region by region, the book has enlisted experts to lay out the history, cultures, geography, and other significant factors of each one. This textual mosaic is gorgeously illustrated with more than 200 lush color photographs of items in the Museum’s holdings, from bark masks and ceremonial shields to baskets and baby carriers, often accompanied by pictures of the objects in use.

Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061547317
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Smithsonian Books (DC) - October 12th, 2010