“The way Vermeer painted this wall is consistent with a photograph. It is not consistent with human vision.” In a fascinating new documentary by Penn and Teller, a digital-graphics artist spent five years building a lens, a room, and a harpsichord to figure out how.
Nabokov played (and frequently wrote about) chess; J.K. Rowling plays Minecraft, though it has yet to appear in any kind of Harry Potter spin-off. And why shouldn't she? After all, "there’s a long tradition of other authors turning to a variety of such games – mostly as light relief from their vocation, but also sometimes finding writerly inspiration."
The huge, McSweeney's-published, John Sayles novel A Moment in the Sun has been getting great reviews. It's now out. Also new this week is China Mieville's Embassytown, reviewed here today; Paul Theroux's exploration of the genre of travel writing, The Tao of Travel; prizewinning Nigerian author Helon Habila's new novel Oil on Water; and A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, the complete stories of Margaret Drabble, recently written up by Joyce Carol Oates in the New Yorker. New in paperback are a pair of Millions Hall of Famers, Emma Donoghue's Room and Justin Cronin's The Passage.
Maybe the real reason I like Jennifer Egan is that there are so many freckled protagonists in her books. Patricia Zohn at the Huffington Post asks the author about her family, parenting, and her writing obsessions (like freckled faces). She even gets a photo of Egan as a teenager!
In a recent interview with Bookforum, Wells Tower dropped an enticing little detail about his latest project: a novel. Playing coy with the interviewer, Tower admitted only that “it will concern a family and it will contain a good number of pages.” No release date has been set at this time.
Theoretically, it pays to get a novel on Amazon’s best seller list. In reality, though, a bestselling novel doesn’t make as much in cold hard cash as you’d think.