Citing the cliché that people “only become interested in a country’s literature once we start bombing in” as his reason, Chad Post takes a close look at some recently published Ukrainian books.
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.
As you might expect, the literature of England is characterized by a fair amount of rain, but what’s interesting is that the Victorian era had the rainiest literature of all. In The Guardian, a look into the history of downpours and drizzles in English narratives. (via Arts and Letters Daily)
New this week: Island of the Mad by Laurie Sheck; Moshi-Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto; One Man’s Dark by Maurice Manning; Kill the Next One by Federico Axat; and Loveland by Graham Norton. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.