Over at the Masters Review, Marjorie Sandor writes about the uncanny in literature and film, the origins of the word, and psychology. “Uncanny. Look it up in a standard collegiate dictionary, and you’ll get a brief, unhelpful definition. Seemingly supernatural. Mysterious. [orig. Sc & N. Engl.]. But the slippage has already begun. Seemingly.”
“People who shun new technologies will be viewed as passive-aggressive control freaks trying to rope people into their world, much like vegetarian teenage girls in the early 1980s.” Novelist Douglas Coupland (who popularized the term “Generation X”) previews his lecture “A radical pessimist’s guide to the next ten years” in the Globe and Mail.
Even those who detest the sport can feel the joys of reading Roger Angell’s baseball writing. Case in point: his latest dispatch, in which he remarks on a recent triple play by saying, “What’s great about [triple plays] isn’t really their scarcity but the fact that they beautifully illustrate the invisible force that hovers about each pitch and play and inning and game in this pausing, staccato, and inexorably accruing pastime: the laws of chance.”
Landlord, patron, gardener, traveler— Elizabeth Gilbert is so much more than a memoirist. Steve Almond profiles Gilbert for The New York Times and finds out about her return to fiction with her new novel, The Signature of All Things. Yet Gilbert doesn’t disparage her Eat, Pray, Love fame and readers, even if others do. “I want to say: ‘Go [expletive] yourself! You have no idea who the women are who read my books, and if I have to choose between them and you, I’m choosing them.’”
New York-area readers are invited to come tonight to Housing Works bookstore in SoHo, where I’ll be appearing at 7 p.m. alongside the Norwegian wunderkind Johan Harstad. We’ll be reading from and discussing A Field Guide to the North American Family and Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion? Music courtesy of Brooklyn’s The Sweaters (not to be confused with The Cardigans.)
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.”