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  • The Guardian has photos of A Little Life author Hanya Yanagihara‘s New York City apartment and its 12,000 – yes 12,000 – books. Pair with our interview with her from 2015: “It was the worst—the bleakest, the most physically exhausting, the most emotionally enervating—writing experience I’d had. I felt, and feared, that the book was controlling me, somehow, as if I’d somehow become possessed by it.”


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “I was absolutely horrified. Wouldn’t have known if not for a Russian reader who read both editions. Publisher in total breach of contract.” The Guardian reports that author VE Schwab was “devastated” to learn scenes from her fantasy series Shades of Magic have been excised from Russian translations for featuring queer characters. See also: a consideration of the commercial viability of LGBTQ lit.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “On the way home, the girl did not notice the color of the sky or the shape of the night, as she was too busy questioning why there were no secrets anymore.” As part of its Recommended Reading series, Electric Literature offers a special seven-part serial by Joe Meno“Star Witness” tells the story of a young woman in a small southern town who spends the night searching for a missing local girl, and we can’t wait to read the next six installments. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s profile of Meno from a few years back: “[he] seems more than willing to try new things in his work, to stretch his expectations of what he can do as a writer, and what a book can be.”


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Check it out for yourself to marvel at the the long history of our language, including but not limited to the origins of the term ‘rock snot.’” The AV Club reports that the word nerds at Merriam-Webster have launched Time Traveler, a new tool that lets users look at the timing around when new words entered the print lexicon. Consider, also, authority and American usage.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “[C]hildren often prefer the factual over the fantastical. And a growing body of work suggests that when it comes to storybooks, they also learn better from stories that are realistic. For example, preschool-aged children are more likely to learn new facts about animals when the animals are portrayed realistically as opposed to anthropomorphically.” Two new studies suggest that where learning is concerned, realism trumps fantasy in children’s books. Which is as good a time as any to ask our own Jacob Lambert‘s question: Are picture books leading our children astray?


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “The idea that a ‘book of the year’ can be assessed annually by a bunch of people – judges who have to read almost a book a day – is absurd, as is the idea that this is any way of honouring a writer.” Amit Chaudhuri in The Guardian about why the Man Booker Prize “is bad for writers.” And in these pages, Mark O’Connell asks why we care about literary awards at all.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public and — worse — the victims. Community members must take action; if we don’t, hate persists.” The always amazing Southern Poverty Law Center has put together “Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide.”


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “She could be a diva, says this source, ‘but in a way I fucking admire it. The world would be a sorrier place without divas.’” For New York magazine, Boris Kachka on the drama behind Michiko Kakutani‘s departure from The New York Times and what her absence means for the world of books. Consider also: our own Matt Seidel‘s rogue’s gallery of prominent critics.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • Out this week: Home Fire by Kamila ShamsieThe Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett KobekHow to Behave in a Crowd by Camille BordasThe World Broke in Two by Bill GoldsteinA Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson SextonThings That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini; and The Mountain by Paul Yoon. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.


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    ~Thomas Beckwith
  • The 2017 Hugo Award winners were announced in Helsinki, reports io9. For the second year in a row N.K. Jemisin came away with the best novel prize for her latest, The Obelisk Gate, and Ursula K. Le Guin (whom we interviewed a few years back) took “best related work” for her collection Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016.


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Many of the basic rules around typographic contrast and readability for print or 2D screens change in VR. When type becomes even a little bit more volumetric, the way people perceive it and interact with it changes. The type needs to be rooted in something real, otherwise it gets a little uncanny for the user.” What should typography look like in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality interfaces? The Drum considers (via The Digital Reader). Wonder what a book fetishist might thing of all this…


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    ~Kirstin Butler
  • “Every one of these books is a herd of animals.” The Atlantic reports that a group of archaeologists and geneticists in the UK have used mere crumbs of parchment to study the DNA of several thousand-year-old illuminated manuscripts, the pages of which were made of cow and sheep skins.


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    ~Kirstin Butler

Read More The Millions Top 10 July 2017