Matthew Shaer takes a gander at the history of book pulping.
At The NYT Mag, Virginia Heffernan's "Drill, Baby, Drill" explores the possibility that drills and memorization might not be quite as oppressive as some of the kinder, gentler pedagogues of our time suggest and offers a list of aps to help aspiring rote learners (Nota Bene: VerseByHeart).
“It would be hard for anybody who has dealt with suicide to not have a heightened awareness of things, to perhaps be a little more cautious about things.” A Colorado school district has officially pulled the book 13 Reasons Why out of circulation, reports The New York Post; not surprisingly, some librarians are rankled. Pair with this case against book banning, which focuses on number 15 on the list of 100 most challenged books released by the ALA, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.
"The Books of Magic makes The Lord of the Rings, The Avengers, Harry Potter, and even Twilight all look like entries in the same broad genre of tween-superhero fantasy, in which someone insignificant gets mighty powers, fights the forces of evil, and ultimately triumphs. ...The pop culture landscape starts to look like an endless row of Tim Hunters, the same successful formula applied again and again." From The Atlantic, a look at how Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic prefigured the runaway success of Harry Potter and the modern YA fantasy-adventure craze.
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.
"Time goes all stretchy in the Twittersphere, just as it does in those folk songs in which the hero spends a night with the queen of the faeries and then returns to find that 100 years have passed and all his friends are dead…" Margaret Atwood talks Twitter with Robert McCrum.
Overt at JSTOR Daily, Allana Mayer writes about visual literacy in the age of the Internet. As she explains it, “We have similar stories all throughout history: the moment when a perception—whether a literal way of seeing or a figurative mode of thinking—is assaulted and fundamentally shifts.” Pair with our own Bill Morris’s piece on the new Whitney Museum.