“Up until very recently, I’d recount my online experiences with some degree of shame or sheepishness, but in this apocalyptic year of 2012, that embarrassment is beginning to fall by the wayside. I’ve been having more and more conversations with people grappling with what is gained and lost by how some of our most meaningful musical discoveries– not to mention life experiences– have happened in front of, or facilitated by, screens.” Over at Pitchfork, a new column dedicated to the intersections between digital and ordinary life – and the art these interactions can produce.
“Unlike, say, skimming a page of headlines, reading a book (of any genre) forces your brain to think critically and make connections from one chapter to another, and to the outside world. When you make connections, so does your brain, literally forging new pathways between regions in all four lobes and both hemispheres. Over time, these neural networks can promote quicker thinking and may provide a greater defense against the worst effects of cognitive decay.” Readers Digest compiles the latest research about why you should read (via Book Riot).
New this week is Julian Barnes’ new collection of stories, Pulse. We also have new novels from Geraldine Brooks (Caleb’s Crossing) and Jean Thompson (The Day We Left Home). There’s also a new collection available from Nobel laureate J.M.G. Le Clezio (Mondo and Other Stories). And new in paperback: Millions Hall of Famer Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart and The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis.
“After years of reading, teaching, and writing about the book, though, I’ve come to believe that… our understanding of what is comic and what is serious in Huck Finn says more about America in the last century than America in the time Twain wrote the book.” Andrew Levy writes for Salon about childhood, race, and “dedicated amnesia” in Mark Twain‘s controversial classic.
“I can read whatever I want. No one can stop me. I can help other people read what they want. And no one can stop them.” Zoe Fisher for The Rumpus about being “a horny queer teenager” who found her home in libraries. Pair with a controversial piece from our own pages this week by Douglas Koziol, a bookseller exploring what to do with “a book that you not only find objectionable but also believe actually dangerous in the lessons it portends amidst such a politically precarious time?”
As summer rolls around, you might way to get acquainted with The Vonnegut Review. Conceived by Wilson Taylor and Matthew Gannon, the review will function as a season-long project “dedicated toward reading and reviewing all fourteen of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels.” You can participate with the Review’s Twitter and Tumblr posts by utilizing the hashtag “#VonnegutSummer.”
Max Porter’s Death Is the Thing With Feathers is a bizarre, beautiful book. Over at The Literary Hub, he talks death, writing, and musical theater with Catherine Lacey. Porter’s book came highly recommended by Garth Risk Hallberg in his 2015 Year in Reading for The Millions.