J.L. Galache wanted to honor the recently deceased Iain Banks in a way befitting the man’s memory. So of course he named an asteroid after the author. With the help of Dr. Gareth Williams of the Minor Planet Center, Galache successfully lobbied the Committee for Small Body Nomencalture of the International Astronomical Union for Asteroid 5099 to be officially dubbed Iainbanks. (Bonus: John McIntyre honors Banks’s memory by reading through some of his best work.)
“Is this skyscraper autobiographical?” People say some pretty ridiculous things about writing. To put it in perspective, Mallory Ortberg presents "If We Talked About Architecture Like We Talk About Writing."
To date, Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie, is the only fictional character to get his own obit in the Times. At the LARB, Rumblr editor Molly McArdle looks back on Poirot, the very long-running TV series that ended on November 13th. (h/t The Rumpus)
The New York Times best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell recognizes that printed books can be beautiful, covetable objects that enhance the experience of reading. He hired Brian Rea, a frequent Times Magazine illustrator, and Paul Sahre, a designer who also frequently contributes to the magazine, to collaborate on the visuals for a new box set, Malcolm Gladwell: Collected.
In an interview with Jonathan Lethem, the NBCC's Jane Ciabaratti offers, inter alia, a sympathetic reading of Chronic City; both have more affection than Kakutani did for what Lethem calls "the claptrap contraption plot I invented." Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, in a flash of inspiration, assigns the book to the estimable Alexander Theroux - the only non-Latin writer who can credibly use the word "prosopographical" in a review. (But, attn editor: "not a jot" twice? in subsequent paragraphs?) A marathon bi-borough reading of the entire novel continues tonight at McNally Jackson.
"On closer inspection, however, the book comes off as something more complicated than a flowering of one eccentric and filthy man’s erotic imagination. Its elaborate descriptions of pleasure given and taken start to seem like scrims for a moral argument about what sorts of sexual behaviors should be 'forbid' and which should be encouraged—an argument refined in prison by an author deeply occupied with thoughts of punishment, dissipation, and sin." On John Cleland's (very erotic) novel Fanny Hill and the importance of its having been written in prison.