[Literature] ‘Havel: A Life,’ by Michael Zantovsky

Václav Havel was, perhaps, the first hip (as opposed to ‘hipster’) president. A playwright, poet, and political dissident, he ended up as the first president of a free Czechoslovakia, and helped steer the ‘Velvet Divorce‘ which saw the country’s peaceful dissolution into the current states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

He was an ardent anti-Communist, humanitarian, and friend and fan of men as disparate as Frank Zappa and Ronald Reagan. Perhaps now is a great time for an American audience to see what a friend we had in Václav.

Marci Shore reviews the biography here, courtesy of the New York Times.

[Lit] ‘Dr. Zhivago’: The Classic Book That Was Almost Never Published

Russia bans books and movies from time to time. It takes a lot of cheek to compare banning a literary classic like Boris Pasternak’sDr. Zhivago‘ to trash like Pussy Riot, but this is what one learns to expect from the Huffington Post.

Still, the literary world would have been a poorer place had ‘Dr. Zhivago’ had never seen the light of day.

Read Petra Couvée’s article for HuffPo here.