Ta-Nehisi Coates wants to make America less stupid about the Civil War. He recommends five books we should all read to gain a better understanding of American history during this war and assures us that “I’ve tried to think very hard about readability, and to offer books you might actually complete.” So no excuses, start here
Is the global literary marketplace changing the way that novelists write? Over at Public Books, Dora Zhang writes on Rebecca Walkowitz’s Born Translated and books that “appear simultaneously or nearly simultaneously in multiple languages.” Pair with this Millions piece on literary translators at work.
How do we map our experiences? Where You Are (our review) attempts to answer this but ends up raising an interesting relationship between print and online story space. At Music & Literature, Reif Larsen traces the history of interactive books and contemplates the future of online story space. “Considering print books have been around for over five hundred years, online publishing is still in its infancy. Much of the map remains blank.” Pair with: Larsen’s essay on the power of the infographic.
Time for an update on the Bob Dylan-Nobel Prize beat: While Dylan still won’t attend the award ceremony in Stockholm this weekend, he has submitted a speech to be read on his behalf, reports The New York Times. Patti Smith will also be on hand to perform one of Dylan’s songs. We bet Brian Burlage would say that suits him perfectly.
“Creating a unique package for a book is really about making potential readers see the book as a singular thing in a sea of sameness. Something that has a soul.” Jason Booher talks with Slate Book Review about the process of designing book covers in general and the cover of Forensic Songs, dubbed “the most awesome book cover of the summer,” in particular.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just released almost 400,000 high-resolution digital images of its collections. Among them are thousands of illustrations from bygone days when “picture books” were not for children alone. Pair with Buzz Poole‘s reviews of contemporary works of visual literature in The Millions archives, from hand-drawn self-help quotes to politically-charged images of transit in Tehran.
Quartz has a roundup of the books Hillary Clinton borrowed from the State Department library during her time as Secretary of State, including a memoir, poetry, and a lot of non-fiction. Pair with our piece about what private libraries reveal about their readers.