“I suspect ‘chess rage’ and ‘road rage’ are neighboring neural impulses.” Tom Russell at Guernica Magazine has written a fascinating essay on a summer spent playing chess in Bryant Park and the unexpected artistic beauty of the game. Here’s a cursorily-related review of The Chess Machine, a book which features an unbeatable chess-playing automaton controlled by a dwarf.
As a literary technique, imitation is usually thought of as an amateur move, despite the number of classic works that began as overt acts of mimicry. At the Ploughshares blog, Anca Szilagyi comes up with several prompts for writers who want to imitate thoughtfully.
“Andre Dubus’s literary superpower is to hit upon that one thing about a character that makes him him, or her her. And in so doing, with subtle, clever details—breadcrumbs on the trail to the nucleus of a character—he makes a reader want to keep going, because she knows exactly who these people are and has to know what happens to them.” On the Selected Stories of Andre Dubus.
“There is something terrifying but also fascinating about contemplating the end of humanity,” and on Oct. 25th our own Edan Lepucki and Emily St. John Mandel (whose novel Station Eleven was just shortlisted for the National Book Award) will be discussing their recent apocalyptic fictions at the Texas Book Festival.
Eileen Battersby profiled Declan Meade, the publisher, editor, and co-founder of Ireland’s Stinging Fly literary journal. The magazine, which just published its 43rd issue, has been credited with popularizing some of Ireland’s most significant contemporary writers.
Last week, I pointed readers to a speech by the late James Salter, reprinted by The Paris Review Daily in tribute to the writer after his death. For a fan appreciation, you can read Kevin Lincoln in Hazlitt, who leads his piece with the observation that Salter “wrote sentences you could unfold into paper lanterns.” Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s review of Salter’s All That Is.
Literary gold: Don Baiocchi’s list of books that are responses to other books.The top 50 film adaptations of books. The Guardian never seems to tire of such lists.Benetton, whose Colors magazine is one of my favorites, is participating in the New York festival of Internatonal Literature by hosting a conversation series. They’re looking to get people involved: “Through the BenettoTalk blog it is possible for everyone to join the conversations, posting questions and generating debate, some days before they happen. Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Lethem, Rodrigo Fresan, Helen Oyeyemi and many others will answer you.” You can post a question here.