Literary roundup: Bulgarian brunch (with Absinthe) and well-read cities

Absinthe: New European Writing #17 – the Bulgarian issue is ready and on the way to subscribers. So subscribe, order it. Besides the work of a lot of great Bulgarian writers I have an essay in it on some recent adaptations that have made it to Bulgaria’s silver screen. I will also soon have some related film reviews online.

Also Absinthe related, for those of you in Michigan, June 1 and 2 is the Absinthe Festival of International Film & Writing in Farmington (which I presume is in Michigan). Lots of international literary guests and screenings of Farewell (L’affaire Farewell), a French espionage film as well as The Hedgehog (Le hérisson), an animated animal adventure for the whole family – No, sorry, actually a film based on Muriel Barbery’s novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog about an 11-year old who plans to kill herself (So probably not for the whole family).

More Bulgaria

Following the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation’s upcoming Sozopol Fiction Seminars there will be a presentation of the aforementioned issue of Absinthe, bilingual readings, discussions and more at CapitaLiterature May 29 – 31 in Sofia. A full schedule of events can be found here, including the Absinthe brunch for which, since I’m a non-attending contributor, I’d like to order French toast and fresh squeezed orange juice to be mailed to me in Prague.


In the unintentionally hilarious (and depressing) category there is the Amazon list of best-read US cities. First place – you guessed it: Alexandria, Virginia. What makes this choice so funny is that later information provided shows that the city is number one for romance novels.

Now I suspect that among the millions of books available on Amazon it’s possible to find a dictionary. Turning then to the W’s one can find a definition of “well-read” saying something like this: “having read widely and intelligently; erudite,” or this: “well-informed or deeply versed through reading <well–read in history>” or even this: “describes someone who has learnt a lot of information on different subjects by reading.”

Can you picture the erudite conversation these romance novels give rise to?

And just to add insult to injury they write that Berkeley, California is full of “jet-setters” because it’s tops in travel books, evoking the image of the rich and famous abandoning St. Tropez (or wherever jet-setters go these days) for Alaska or Yosemite National Park.

Photo – Stay vigilant, well-read inhabitants of Alexandria! Bulgaria is hot on your erudite heels.

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