A startling conclusion from this data visualization of where in words each letter of the alphabet tends to fall: “the most common word may be ‘the, but the most representative word is ‘toe.’ ” (Also available: detailed methodology and algorithms for the data geeks; an explanation of data-viz as a narrative form for everyone else.)
Out this week: Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh; Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami; The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman; Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson; Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville; The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski; Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jeanine Capo Crucet; and The Daughters by Adrienne Celt. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
“I was dropping out of college and had begun a novel and returned to New York. A bookstore in Manhattan announced a rare reading and signing by Anthony Burgess, a primary hero of mine at the time, for his autodidact’s erudition and braggadocio, and for how he’d gentrified a number of outre genres just by picking them up and mingling them with his erudition and braggadocio.” At the LARB, Jonathan Lethem remembers a formative reading by the author.
Meanwhile, in the commonwealth of Virginia, HB 516 is currently sailing through state legislature. What began as one mother's outraged response to her 17-year-old son's AP English assignment–reading Beloved by Toni Morrison–has morphed into a bill which would require school districts to do three things: flag any "sexually explicit" assigned material, allow parents to review all assigned readings to assess perceived levels of sexual explicitness, and finally, require teachers to provide alternate readings/avenues of study for any students whose parents deem particular content too inappropriate.
“When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language." Anna Dewdney, best-selling children’s author and illustrator, died this past weekend after a battle with brain cancer. Her obituary concluded with this: “She requested that in lieu of a funeral service that people read to a child instead.”
"An ideal essay is hard to define, but easy to point to. An ideal essay mines the “I” in efforts of high exposition. It is driven by a need to testify or witness, and demands the same of its reader. It is a glimpse of something uncomfortably recognizable, a requiem for the quotidian, a look over the newly-gilded edge." Samantha Tucker Iacovetto writes about "Defining the Ideal Essay" for Brevity's Nonfiction Blog
Photographer Doug Rickard employs an interesting technique for his “A New American Picture” series: Google Street View. Check out the shots he took while he “virtually [drove] the unseen and overlooked roads of America, to find bleak places that are forgotten, economically devastated, and abandoned.”
Back in July, Evan Allgood interviewed Alina Simone for The Millions. The writer and indie rocker talked about her new book and the phenomenon of “gilded turds” in the art world. Now, at Full-Stop, Jordan Kisner conducts his own interview with Simone, who tells him that “we’re in this age where every three seconds you’re getting pinged by some weird ‘ask’ that is almost like an invitation to a new life.”