Tuesday, November 29, 2005

David Leavitt

I've read Leavitt's fiction, though he's come out with several books since I picked one up. Tonight I went around the block to Black Oak Books to hear Leavitt give a talk based on his new biography of Alan Turing called The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Leavitt brought transparencies and used an overhead projector to throw the images on a screen. Oddly, he didn't seem familiar with the properties of an overhead projector, the way to enlarge the image, for instance, being to physically move the projector farther from the screen. When the bookstore clerk didn't get it either I hopped up, mumbling something about grade school, and helped drag the table with the iffy legs far enough from the screen to give the people in the back (or the older people in the front) a better chance at seeing. Leavitt's transparencies were from the biography and were illustrations of Turing machines.

Leavitt wrote the book having become fascinated by the creativity of mathematicians, a creativity very different from the fiction writer's, a mathematician's way of thought, Leavitt said, being at once baffling and intriguing. I like that.

I didn't buy the book. I did buy some used copies of Leavitt novels.

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