Where Writing Historical Novels Can Get You Thrown Into Prison For Life

Yes, there are a number of countries where this is the case. But one that has an ongoing history of jailing its most famous writers, even as it claims to be an elective democracy is Turkey, where Ahmet Altan is now living in a 13-foot-long cell in Europe’s largest prison complex. Fellow novelist Kaya Genç (himself free, at least for now) looks at Altan’s case and at his magnum opus, the Ottoman Quartet, whose last volume, if it’s written at all, will come from behind bars. – The New Republic

A Family At The Heart Of The Hawaiian Language Revival

Kekoa and Pelehonuamea Harman fell in love while undergraduates in the first class of the Hawaiian-medium degree program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Now they’re part of a new generation of instructors teaching the language, and the associated culture, to young people across the state, leading to the first increase in the number of fluent Hawaiian speakers in generations. – Smithsonian Magazine

U.S. Book Publishers End This Godawful Year In Good Shape

“With so many people stuck at home and activities from concerts to movies off limits, people have been reading a lot — or at least buying a lot of books. Print sales by units are up almost 8 percent so far this year, according to NPD BookScan. E-books and audiobooks, which make up a smaller portion of the market, are up as well.” Says the CEO of Penguin Random House, “I expect that … when you look at the final numbers, it will have been the best year in a very long time.” – The New York Times

What It Takes To Revive A Dead Language

The obvious case of a language being brought back to full life is Hebrew, which was used in Jewish religious ceremonies and texts but hadn’t been a full-fledged spoken language for about two millennia when a conscious decision was made to revive it for use in what would become Israel. Yet there was a couple of key conditions present for Hebrew’s success that weren’t there in the case of, for instance, Irish. – JSTOR Daily

Romance Novels Are A Massive Business. Why Do So Few Get Adapted For TV?

“Even as networks and streaming services slaver over intellectual property with prearranged fan bases, few mass-market romance novels have found their way to screens. Character-driven and story rich, they would seem to have a lot of what television wants. But showrunners have played hard to get.” Alexis Soloski explores why. – The New York Times

The Riverside Bookstalls Of Paris Have Been There For 400 Years. Can They Survive 2020’s Parade Of Catastrophes?

“Despite frequent bans by assorted French kings, bouquinistes – the first dictionary entry for the term was in 1752 – have been hawking their wares along the Seine since the 16th century, originally from handcarts, voluminous pockets and trestle tables. … 227 franchises were operating at the beginning of the year; 221 are open now – at least, in theory. In practice, except on sunny weekends, as many as 80% of the railway-green boxes are more or less permanently closed, and most bouquinistes‘ incomes have plunged by a similar percentage.” – The Guardian