Chilean Communists want to exhume Pablo Neruda’s body to determine his actual cause of death. The endeavor is being undertaken because Neruda’s “former driver said he received an injection which provoked a heart attack.”
Scientists confirmed recently that writers are more likely to struggle with mental illness (sometimes, as recently noted, due to syphilis). Since we’re so used to our alcoholic literary greats, and a smattering of suicidal ones (Plath, Woolf, Thompson, Wallace–and many more), this comes as no great surprise. On a happier note, a new study using fMRIs and MFA students has found that writers show different brain patterns than “normal people” just writing: in fact they resemble “expert” thinking patterns of all professionals doing what they’re best at–musicians, athletes, competitive Scrabble players. I don’t know if I’m happier to learn the fMRIs found no gaping black holes, or that MFAs do in fact teach you something.
New this week: The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant; Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz; a limited edition of The David Foster Wallace Reader; and The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems by Olena Kalytiak Davis (which I wrote about last week). For more on these and other recent titles, go read our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
The Walking Tour is drawing ever nearer! Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.In the NYRB, Mark Danner examines the politics of torture, and J.M. Coetzee gets deep inside Samuel Beckett’s head.James Wood finger-drumming on YouTube is just the most weirdly hypnotic thing we’ve ever seen.Typewriter-part art. (via The Rumpus)A new front runner in the coolest bookshelf contest. Think of it – geographic classification! (for American lit only)”Geoff Dyer book unlikely to win Bad Sex Award“Jane Austen got rejection letters too.Wow. A new Kurt Vonnegut collection is on the way. Amazon has it listed.A glimmer of good news in the newspaper business?Audrey Niffenegger is having a pretty good recession.Further Reading: Kevin’s list of families and fiction has garnered many additions from readers in the comments.