Here’s a fascinating article by Aatish Bhatia about “how we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains.” Grab a seat; this is a good one.
If you run into trouble in Iceland, blame the elves. 54.4 percent of Icelanders believe in the invisible creatures, and elves cause environmental protest today. “Beliefs in misfortune befalling those who dare to build in elf territory is so widespread and frequent that the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has created a five-page ‘standard reply’ for press inquiries about elves,” Ryan Jacobs writes for The Atlantic. Pair with: our essay on Icelandic writer Sjón.
Last year, Millions staffer Bill Morris reported on a group of Elaine’s regulars seeking “ways to repay Elaine [Kaufman] for all the encouragement she gave to writers and other creative people” at her restaurant. What emerged was The Table 4 Writers Foundation, and this year the group is ready to award its latest batch of $2,500 grants to promising writers. The application deadline is October 20.
At long last Renata Adler’s re-released Speedboat is out from NYRB Classics. The book’s attracted quite a bit of (deserved) pre-release hype. Also out today are a pair of books covered in our Great 2013 Book Preview: Vladimir Nabokov’s The Tragedy of Mr. Morn (no relation to yours truly) and Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives. In three days you can get your hands on Kristopher Jansma’s debut novel The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards.
“It may be vanity on my part … but I have a fairly high opinion of the two pieces that I sent in.” A 68-year-old aspiring writer has accused the Iowa Writers’ Workshop of age discrimination, reports The Los Angeles Times. In his complaint, Dan Thomson cites “statistics from the program that reveal that, in the last five years, just over 100 would-be graduate students over the age of 50 applied to the program, but none made the cut.” Doesn’t he know you don’t need an MFA, anyway?
Out this week: The Children Act by Ian McEwan; The Dog by Joseph O’Neill; Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas; Hold the Dark by William Giraldi; Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones; Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück; Gangsterland by Tod Goldberg; Happiness: Ten Years of n + 1; Neverhome by Laird Hunt; and Station Eleven by our own Emily St. John Mandel. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.