In the Prospect, an essay on anesthesia, 3D printing, teleportation, LSD, and other thought experiments on self-awareness. Also, this line: “If the spectrum of selfhood begins with the roundworm, surely it ends with Proust.”
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.
After earning herself a “test run” writer’s residency aboard an Amtrak train, Jessica Gross reflects on the virtues and benefits of writing by railcar. Meanwhile, Alexander Chee announces he’ll be writing on the rails from New York City to Portland this Spring. You can read some more information about the program over here.
After working on his novel Family Life for seven years, Akhil Sharma began to lose his mind. Whenever he sat down to write, he began having panic attacks, the kind that left his chest feeling “constantly bruised” for months on end. Eventually, he hit on a solution: he learned to take his mind off his novel by praying for other people.
“Megan Gething jumped in to action and tied a pair of shorts around her friend’s leg to slow blood loss, using a tip she learned from the young adult science fiction novels.” A 12-year-old Massachusetts girl used what she read about creating a tourniquet from The Hunger Games to rescue her friend, reports the AP (via Book Riot). Guess the best YA books really do stick with you.
In an in-depth interview for Nomadic Press, Shira Erlichman describes what it’s like to make art while living with mental illness. As she puts it, “The thing that is so strange to me is that it was so wide-lensed. Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, you go crazy, like in the movies. You’re just suddenly crazy.’ But there was such a domino effect. One little thing—it’s almost like 70 dominoes lined up in one track that all lead to one conclusion.” Pair with Gila Lyons’s Millions essay on writing through illness.