Clive Thompson, of Wired and The New York Times Magazine, owns a digital copy of War and Peace but had his 16,000 words of notes and annotations printed and bound into a physical book. This, he says, may be the way of the future of reading.
You don’t need to visit Houghton Library in Cambridge, MA to check out Emily Dickinson’s family artifacts. You can catch a glimpse from the comfort of your own home.
Our humongous second-half preview will keep you busy planning your to-read list for the rest of the year, but there are some intriguing new books out this week too. Bonnie Jo Campbell's novel Once Upon a River is now out, as is Edie Meidav's Lola, California. (Don't miss the remarkable essay Meidav wrote for us recently.) Also new is the latest from Benjamin Black (John Banville's pen name), A Death in Summer, and Flip Flop Fly Ball, a collection of light-hearted and very clever baseball infographics from Craig Robinson (whose work also appears on his blog).
Psychotherapist Ariel Garten redefines consciousness at TEDx Toronto. "The problem with escaping your day-to-day life," she says, "is that you have to come home eventually." Her question, which she answers in the affirmative, is whether we can "find ways to know ourselves without the escape? Can we redefine our relationship with the technologized world in order to have the heightened sense of self-awareness that we seek? Can we live here and now in our wired web, and still follow those ancient instructions: 'Know thyself'?"
J. K. Rowling has confirmed that her new film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will be a trilogy. She’s also writing about Native American wizards on Pottermore, which, as our own Elizabeth Minkel has pointed out, has been controversial. It’s a good time to revisit our piece on J.K. Rowling’s second thoughts.
For the most part, Alexis de Tocqueville had good things to say about the young United States in his book Democracy in America, which is probably why we tend to forget that he thought Americans weren’t funny. What de Tocqueville missed, according to a new history of American humor, is the extent to which American funniness emerged from subversive groups of outsiders. In Bookforum, Ben Schwartz takes stock of the arguments in American Fun.