Out this week: Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami; White Dancing Elephants by Chaya Bhuvaneswar; Hungry Ghost Theater by Sarah Stone; Love is Blind by William Boyd; and The Witch Elm by Tana French. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
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.
The first teaser trailer for The Counselor was released today. The film, which is directed by Ridley Scott and written by Cormac McCarthy, will star Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Penélope Cruz among others. As you bide your time before its November release date, treat yourself to a sneak peek of McCarthy’s screenplay over here.
There is going to be a documentary about Joan Didion. We repeat: a documentary about Joan Didion. This is not a drill. Watch the opening trailer and consider donating to the Kickstarter campaign here, and be sure to read our own Michael Borne‘s review of Blue Nights and S.J. Culver‘s Millions essay on “Getting Out: Escaping with Joan Didion.”
“Delight in book collecting, and in showing off one’s book collection, is common, if not universal, among readers and would-be-readers. The biggest reason we spend money on books is because we want to read them (eventually), but that isn’t the only reason: we also like to look at them, and to look at other people looking at them.” Over at The Point, Jake Bittle considers why we collect books as opposed to simply reading them. He also points out, correctly, that books are very, very unpleasant to move, something our own Matt Seidel can confirm.