What does it mean to be cool? According to scholar Joel Dinerstein, it means a person who conveys “relaxed intensity.” Using this definition, Dinerstein and Frank Goodyear III curated a photography exhibition of “American Cool” at National Portrait Gallery. The portraits feature everyone from Joan Didion to David Byrne.
On this day 124 years ago Raymond Chandler, hardest of the hard-boiled, was born. To celebrate the father of Philip Marlowe see these letters Chandler wrote to some of his contemporaries, listen to Chandler’s interview with Ian Fleming, and enjoy a couple classic Chandlerisms. Most importantly, read “The Simple Art of Murder,” the greatest essay about the mystery novel ever written.
Tuesday New Release Day! New E.L. Doctorow, new Lorrie Moore, new Nick Cave, new (guest contributor) Michelle Huneven. And new in paperback 2666. Update: There’s also a new six-word memoir collection “by Teens Famous and Obscure” edited by Friend of The Millions Rachel Fershleiser
Literary gold: Don Baiocchi’s list of books that are responses to other books.The top 50 film adaptations of books. The Guardian never seems to tire of such lists.Benetton, whose Colors magazine is one of my favorites, is participating in the New York festival of Internatonal Literature by hosting a conversation series. They’re looking to get people involved: “Through the BenettoTalk blog it is possible for everyone to join the conversations, posting questions and generating debate, some days before they happen. Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Lethem, Rodrigo Fresan, Helen Oyeyemi and many others will answer you.” You can post a question here.
“Set in the 2020s and 2030s in a collapsing and crashed America, the Parables books have always seemed incredibly and disturbingly prescient—and in the wake of November 8, 2016 they now seem downright spooky, the actual and accurate history of the future.” How Octavia Butler predicted the present. See also: our consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.