Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker comments on why we still write to win prizes (and hails Mario Vargas Llosa for having “a lively personal life that includes once punching out another future laureate…Gabriel García Márquez, reportedly over something to do with Mrs. Vargas Llosa. The Nobel thus not only crowns a career but provides the basis for a fine future Javier Bardem/Antonio Banderas movie.”)
Columbia once moved its twenty-two miles of books by sending them down a really, really long slide. As The Paris Review documents, in 1934, the university stocked its then-new Butler Library with a slide that ran from Low Library to the new building. (No word on whether the slide is secretly used to this day.)
New this week: The Secret Place by Tana French; 10:04 by Ben Lerner; Barbarian Days by William Finnegan; Wittgenstein, Jr. by Lars Iyer; The Emerald Light in the Air by Donald Antrim; and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Say you find yourself transported 6,000 years in the past – would you still be able to talk to your fellow English-speakers?
Following a recent essay on the value of ambivalence, our own Mark O’Connell explores the nature of confidence in this week’s New York Times Magazine. Perhaps not surprisingly, he writes that this year’s Web Summit convinced him that tech moguls are congenitally more confident than writers.
Martin Amis isn’t the only highbrow fan of video games. As of last Friday, The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington has begun “The Art of Videogames,” which is “one of the first major shows to explore the artistic power of the medium.”
Rosie Schaap espouses the joys of cooking for others “in a powerfully fraught, anxious time” such as ours. “I wanted, at least in this small way,” she writes, “to give comfort—both to myself and to my loved ones.” And as our own Hannah Gersen has noted, if you’re fortunate to have such a good friend for a chef, you can read a cookbook while they work.