Elif Batuman’s provocative essay “Get a Real Degree” is up at the London Review of Books: “Despite the recent trend in viewing fiction as a form of empathy training, I’m pretty sure that writing short stories isn’t the most efficient way to combat injustice or oppression.”
Edward "The Godfather" Thorp has been widely recognized as the "father of card counting" since the publication of his bestselling book Beat the Dealer in 1962. Today, at 70 years old, the man's impact on the card game is ubiquitous, but perhaps nowhere moreso than at Las Vegas' annual Blackjack Ball.
On Friday, Jennifer Egan won the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. Michael Lewis won in the nonfiction category, and Peter Bognanni won the First Fiction Prize. See the full list of winners here, and head over to Jacket Copy for some great coverage of the Festival of Books.
Japanese director Satoshi Kon died last Tuesday at the age of 46. His last words, a rambling text that his family uploaded to the Internet following his death, have just been translated to English: "Everyone, thank you for all the truly great memories. I loved the world I lived in."
Hungarian author and 2002 Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész announced his retirement, reports Nicolas Gary in the French publication ActuaLitté. (Link to Google's translation into English.) As a "gesture of reconciliation" the Fatelessness author and Holocaust survivor has decided to give nearly 35,000 of his papers to the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Meanwhile, Kertész has recently had several of his shorter works released in handsome Melville House editions. (h/t Hari Kunzru)