“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.
“Unable to replicate the success of his first novel [The Loom of Youth],” writes Philip Quarles, “[Alec Waugh] did create a lasting impact by being credited with inventing the cocktail party when he shocked guests by serving, instead of afternoon tea, rum swizzles.”
Those following this weekend's events in Tripoli will no doubt be interested in Banipal's issue dedicated to Libyan fiction. And, as Moammar Gaddafi's reign appears to be ending, the Guardian's evisceration of his short stories is worth a read. On NPR's site, Hisham Matar also explains the influence of Gaddafi's rule on Libyan writing.
“His writings rarely make it to the US, and are resolutely for an Indian readership. They will win no prizes nor inspire dissertations. But for these reasons they represent the actuality of what many people in the world are reading today, outside of the newly sanctified category of the 'global novel.'” Ulka Anjaria for Public Books on Chetan Bhagat, “possibly the most successful Indian English novelist ever” and largely unheard of in the west. For more fictional Desi perspectives, read Aditya Desai in our own pages on reading narratives of Indian women.
What happens when you put one of the biggest literary egos together with music's biggest ego? A movie. Bret Easton Ellis is working with Kanye West on a film. "He came and asked me to write the film," Ellis told Vice. "I didn't want to at first. Then I listened to Yeezus...I thought, regardless of whether I'm right for this project, I want to work with whoever made this." This is an interesting pairing because Kanye definitely isn't a reader.
Ursula K. Le Guin has died at the age of 88, according to the New York Times and Le Guin's family. The prolific science fiction and fantasy writer — best known for her Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness — explored themes like politics, gender, religion, and environmentalism. However, Le Guin wrote across genre and published over 20 novels, 100 short stories, 7 essay collections, 13 children's books, 5 volumes of translation, and a writer's guide. No stranger to awards, Le Guin most recently won the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Related Work for Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016. From our archives: The Millions interview with Le Guin from 2013.