Recommended Viewing: Charlie Rose sits down with Donna Tartt for the author’s only American television interview since releasing her latest novel, The Goldfinch. (Related: Adam Dalva fears that Tartt may have been “following me around with her notebook in hand for the last 14 years.”)
Lots of new books out this week: Where Mortals Sleep, previously unpublished short fiction by Kurt Vonnegut, with a foreword by Dave Eggers; A Life, one of what will be several biographies of J.D. Salinger arriving over the next couple of years; Stanley Fish tells us How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One; Brian Greene introduced the masses to string theory with The Elegant Universe, and now he’s back with The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos; Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge is out in paperback; and finally, from Penguin Classics, The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime: Forgotten Cops and Private Eyes from the Time of Sherlock Holmes.
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.
Daniel Hahn reminds us that translators are vastly under appreciated. To help combat this, he created the TA First Translation prize, an award that will go to a translator for a book’s English-language debut. “There are many prizes in the book world, perhaps too many. But some exist not merely to reward one individual per year, but also to make a statement about what should be valued, and what we need more of. “
Penguin Books UK has started a podcast. I’ve added it to my Literary Podcasts post. (via)Law blog Groklaw has a good post explaining the Google Print project and the controversy surrounding it, and Lawrence Lessig has news of a program coming up at the New York Public Library on November 17 called “The Battle Over Books: Authors and Publishers Take on the Google Print Project.”Golden Rule Jones has a list of this year’s Chicago fiction, and at Pete Lit, Pete tells us about Chicago Noir, a collection edited by Neal Pollock with stories by Adam Langer, Kevin Guilfoile and others.