Friday, October 30, 2020

Can chess making a gripping film? Watch Walter Tevis’s “Queen’s Gambit”


Both art and faith are dependent on imagination; both are ventures into the unknown.

— Denise Levertov, born in 1923

Three Extraordinary Memoir Writers On The Art Of Memoir

Laymon: “That word memoir, in some way it distracted me from the hard shit that I was writing. … Having the memoir title helped me sort of get through the heart work, in this fucked up way.”  – LitHub

Kevin on Inspirational Leadership with Jonathan Bowman-Perks  

 It's not evil that's ruining the earth, but mediocrity. The crime is not that Nero played while Rome burned, but that he played badly.

— Ned Rorem, born in 1923

I did not imagine I would be so enthralled by a show about a young woman playing chess in the 1960s. But that woman is Anya Taylor-Joy, who has been fantastic in everything I’ve seen her in since The Witch (I uh, skipped New Mutants), and the story is based on a book by Walter Tevis, a fantastic author.

Queen’s Gambit is indeed great on its own merits. It’s a smart, well-told story and Taylor-Joy is fantastic as Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy who learns to play from the janitor in her orphanage and takes those skills all the way to Moscow to play the world’s best Grandmaster by the time she’s 20. This, sadly, is not a true story, but it’s a great one all the same.

queen of gambit from
Queens Gambit. The Queen's Gambit is probably the most popular gambit and although most gambits are said to be unsound against perfect

Video for queen of gambit
The Queen's Gambit is billed as a limited series, so it's no 

Can chess making a gripping film? Watch Walter Tevis’s “Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix this Friday, October 23

'The Queen’s Gambit': The True Story, Explained

Anya Taylor-Joy stars in the new Netflix miniseries about a chess prodigy.

Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.

— Doris Lessing, born in 1919

Xi Jinping says China ‘determined to defeat invaders’ in Korean war anniversary speechSouth China Morning Post

OpenStack at 10 years old: A failure on its own terms, a success in its own niche The Register. Read all the way to the end. 

US to host Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict talks FT

Kyrgyzstan Sets New Polls as New PM Reassures Russia Agence France Presss

Battle for borshch: Ukraine lays claim to soup dish amid identity war with Russia The Atlantic Council. Now they’re just trolling us

Why the urban poor will be forced to leave big cities FT


Without a ‘Right to Garden’ Law, It May Be Illegal to Grow Your Own Food Civil Eats

Hold Your Lugnuts: A Right to Repair Automotive Opera in Seven Scenes Dig Boston. Right-to-repair is covered regularly at NC. See, e.g., hereherehere, and here

Evolutionary Psychology: Predictively Powerful or Riddled with Just-So Stories? Areo

For vampire bats, social distancing while sick comes naturally ScienceDaily 

Sharks Wash Up on Beaches, Stabbed by SwordfishNew York Times 

Secrets of Math From the Bee Whisperer Quanta 

Giant Asteroid Survivor of Failed Planet Discovered to Be Slowly Rusting in Space ScienceAlert 

‘Sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find Guardian 

Le Testament Français by Andreï Makine, translated by Geoffrey Strachan

Le Testament Français was published in the US as Dreams of My Russian Summers, but UK publishers retained its French title even in translated editions.  It was the first book ever to win both the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Medicis, and it became a bestseller in France and elsewhere.  I picked it up from Brotherhood Books in 2014 because in my 2011-2012 Year of Russian Reading I’d read Makine’s The Life of an Unknown Man (La vie d’un homme inconnu).  And so I knew Le Testament Français would be a fine book, and it is. As the blurb on the back of this edition says:

Once in a while, there comes a book that captivates critics and public alike.  Andreï Makine’s autobiographical novel is such a book… Its subtle blend of memory and imagination is reminiscent of Proust… But in its broad sweep and mystical vision, Le Testament Français belongs to the tradition of the 19th century Russian novelists.  (Independent on Sunday, date & reviewer’s name not provided).

Famously, Makine was born in Russia in 1957, fled the Soviet Union for France in 1987, where he slept rough for a while and struggled to have his writing accepted as authentic because publishers thought a Russian couldn’t possibly write so well in French.  Since they didn’t think it was his own work, he pretended to have translated it, and that’s how this beautiful novel eventually came to be published

Wickenby - Jersey/Swiss Financial Services Firm Admits to Conspiring with U.S. Taxpayers to Hide Assets and Income in Offshore Accounts Strachans SA in Liquidation Pleads Guilty