What drives the Year in Reading alum and Boy, Snow, Bird author Helen Oyeyemi? If we can believe her interview with The Globe and Mail, it isn’t just the enjoyment she derives from writing fiction. When asked why she wrote her new book, she said: “A few reasons, but mainly to see if I could…at this point, it’s perversity that keeps me writing.”
If you read one piece on early computer scientist Alan Turing that's come out in celebration of his 100th birthday last Saturday (if you were wondering about Friday's Google Doodle) you might do very well to make it this one in the Atlantic on how his reading of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution influenced his work and continues to shape the way we work with computers. It's also about the limits of artificial intelligence.
Recently, both Batgirl and the Norse god Thor (as conceived by Marvel) have been updated to suit the times. While DC Comics simply gave Batgirl sensible, combat-appropriate clothing, inspiring happy fan art; "female Thor" has met a mix of excitement and bewilderment. Fittingly, a new piece out at Aeon explores our conflicted desire to see male protagonists in fiction -- the Harry Potters and Bilbo Baggins' of the world -- reimagined as women. (Also, because no roundup of imaginary characters is complete without fake social media updates, here's Thor lamenting the loss of his hammer on Facebook.)
We've already got several RSVPs for our NYC indie bookstore walking tour. Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.The Millions' Collaborative Atlas of Book Stores and Literary Places is still being added to by our enterprising readers. London in particular is now bristling with points of interest including many bookstores and destinations like St Pancras' Old Church, where you'll find the graves of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.Wyatt Mason's terrific profile of the poet Frederick Seidel is a must-read.Slate's Troy Patterson describes the achievement of German sensation Wetlands in autoproctological terms.The William H. Gass site Tunneling posts some remarkable images of Gass' home library, originally published in 2007 in St. Louis Magazine.L.J. Davis, financial journalist and author of the recently reissued novel A Meaningful Life, offers an insider's look at house-flipping during booms... and busts.Is a two-novelist marriage sustainable? (from Canteen)And what's up with J.D. Salinger these days, anyway? (via)Philip Hensher looks back at novels from the dawn of the Thatcher era.Can't get enough of poet Nathaniel Bellows? Listen to him read.Is Barnes & Noble hoping to arrive better late than never to the ebook reader party?"Wendell Steavenson went looking for remorse among the men who served Saddam Hussein. Her fruitless search, George Packer writes, has produced one of the few lasting works to come out of the Iraq war."Google gets even better at scanning books.Green Apple Books talks about "cool books we'll never sell."
Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient won the Golden Man Booker Prize, the one-off award celebrating the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize. About the prize, Ondaatje said "I wish in fact that those of us on this Man Booker list had been invited to propose and speak about what we felt were the overlooked classics—in order to enlarge what ought to be read, as opposed to relying on the usual suspects." Read the rest of his illuminating and gracious speech over at Literary Hub.