In the Times, Virginia Heffernan bemoans how technology and the economic struggles of the publishing industry are leading to an increasing number of typos in books. However: “The Pollyannish upside to writerly inattention and cutbacks in publishing, then, is that readers sometimes see more of the human writer, and less buff and polish.”
Victor Hugo, when asked about the other parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy that aren’t the widely-read Inferno, had this to say: “The human eye was not made to look upon so much light, and when the poem becomes happy, it becomes boring.” Ouch. Is this why so many of us haven’t even read Dante, despite his being a kind of cultural icon?
As literary genres go, bathroom graffiti ranks somewhere between obscenities carved into desks and poorly spelled comments in terms of respectability. Yet it’s still a form that could reveal interesting things, which is why a group of researchers took a series of fact-finding trips to public stalls across America. Their takeaway? “The mere fact of being in a public bathroom could be skewing how people choose to present themselves when they uncap that Sharpie.” Related: Buzz Poole on The History of American Graffiti.
“At first I had three [children], because I think we need to be outnumbered. It’s good for them. That was my plan when I had three children.” Sit down with Karl Ove Knausgaard as he drives his daughter home. Jonathan Callahan reflects on how Knausgaard’s writing consumes him.
Do you ever find yourself skimming novels looking for exciting words and hyperlinks? You aren’t the only one mixing up the digital and print reading worlds. Neuroscientists believe we are developing new brain circuits for skimming online information that are rewiring how we’ve approached reading for centuries. Pair with: Our essay on how writing is also changing to fit our fragmented attention span.
“Mom would meet up with us in the museum, take us to study Impressionist or Modern art. It always made me want to puke, but we did it every weekend for over a year.” Smithsonian Magazine has a lovely piece about the story behind the children’s classic From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, including lots of anecdotes from author E.L. Konigsburg‘s kids.