Christine Sismondo believes bars deserve more credit for “produc[ing] a particular type of public sphere in colonial America.” She discusses her new book America Walks Into a Bar with The Smithsonian’s Rebecca Dalzell.
If you don’t have any weekend plans, we suggest you spend your time on the British Library’s new Victorian and Romantic section of Discovering Literature. The site features 1,200 literary treasures, including a manuscript of Jane Eyre and 20 short documentaries.
In the 1880s, a group of rural Illinoisans formed a Christian sect that believed that a local woman, Dorinda Beekman, was the new Jesus Christ. When Mrs. Beekman died, a follower of hers claimed that her spirit lived inside him; as the new leader of the sect, he moved his followers into a barn and named it Heaven. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Visel looks back on this odd chapter of history, as well as the novel it inspired. (Related: Eric Shonkwiler on the literature of the Midwest.)
“A chemist colleague of mine runs a seminar in which art and science are brought together. And one such session was devoted to olfaction. And there was an olfactory physiologist from Columbia and a friend of his, a parfumier. Forgive my French accent. And the parfumier had made something unlike anything ever encountered on earth. And it had a very strong smell which aroused no associations and could not be compared to anything. One realized this was absolute novelty.” The Rumpus interviews Oliver Sacks about his new book, Hallucinations.
Originally, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey included more narration by co-writer Arthur C. Clarke, whose short story “The Sentinel” was the basis for Stanley Kubrick’s script. At the last minute, Kubrick decided to cut them out, which led to Clarke leaving the US premiere halfway through. In a piece for The New Statesman an old friend of Clarke’s explores his side of the story. You could also read Ted Gioia on a weirdly predictive ’60s sci-fi novel.
Are these two statistics linked? According to a Pew Internet Libraries study, 30% of those “who read e-content say they now spend more time reading,” and according to studies cited on CreativePro, people can read printed text read “25% faster than on-screen text.”