In true Seinfeldian fashion, Arthur Martine, the Victorian writer behind Martine’s Handbook of Etiquette, drew up a detailed taxonomy of the various species of bore. These include the Loud Talker, who “silences a whole party by his sole power of lungs;” the Malaprop, who masters the art of inappropriate conversation; and the Life-Sharer, who may be familiar to the Facebook addicts of today.
Doors of Perception author Aldous Huxley requested a dose of LSD as he succumbed to laryngeal cancer in 1963. Three weeks later, Huxley’s widow, Laura Archera, wrote a letter describing the experience (“the most beautiful death”) to her brother-in-law. Today the prescription of psychedelic drugs to terminally ill patients is less uncommon than you might expect.
Ahead of its mid August movie debut Kevin Kwan talks about the real life inspiration behind his Crazy Rich Asian trilogy. “But the people who know me, who have read the books, and who are also in that world in Singapore, Hong Kong, and other parts of Asia, don’t get it.” Refinery29 has more.
“My friend Kathy was a Mustang Ranch girl in the eighties, had a line on how to bring cocaine into town, and was party girl central and making a lot of money. She was in the center of it in a way that my characters can see but they can’t ever get to. Reno is a beautiful, beat up, and weird town devoted to this false notion of luck. It’s a beautiful place.” Talking with Christian Kiefer.
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.
Mark O’Connell’s recent essay in these pages discussed how long, challenging novels can hold you captive (in both the good and bad senses of that phrase). Now, in the Times, Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott come to the defense of “the slow and the boring” in film, responding Dan Kois’s Times Magazine piece confessing he’s “suffering from a kind of culture fatigue and have less interest in eating my cultural vegetables.”
Two weeks ago, the Internet Gods (meaning: the Unicode 7.0 update) gave us hundreds of new emoji symbols, including the middle finger and peace dove. By now our emoji usage patterns can be used by psychologists to understand our minds. “People who use no noses tend to be tweeting more about… Justin Bieber. They have younger interests, younger concerns, whether or not they’re younger.”
Out this week: Brown Dog by Jim Harrison; a new paperback edition of Heidegger’s Poetry, Language, Thought; In the Night of Time by Antonio Muñoz Molina; a collection of Nick Hornby’s Believer columns; and a new biography of William and Dorothy Wordsworth.