Last weekend marked the debut of Giphy, a new search engine for animated GIFs. Of course, I’m not willing to give a verdict on its utility just yet – the database doesn’t seem to list my three favorite GIFs of all time: therapist lion, slow motion corgis, and Kermit meets Christian.
"When she was at Radcliffe, Gertrude Stein always wore black and refused to wear a corset. Samuel Beckett liked Wallabee boots and Aran sweaters and settled on his hairstyle when he was 17." Proving that author worship is still alive and well, The New York Times reviews a new book called Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore. Come for Mark Twain's white suit; stay for Zadie Smith's head wraps. Semi-related: how clothing makes the (fictional) woman and man.
Recently, a Czech linguist named Jakob Murian came up with an estimate of the number of languages your average European speaks. The study is complicated, however, by the question of how much you need to know to really understand a given language. At the LRB’s blog, Glen Newey asks: are you fluent when you can order a beer, or when you can translate Virgil? Pair with: Abigail Rasminsky on learning to speak German.
What's better than being a writer? A writer who gets paid. Manjula Martin and Jane Friedman have launched the new digital magazine Scratch, which gives writers information on how to advocate for their work. The preview issue is free and contains essays on what freelancers can learn from street vendors, Cord Jefferson on outgrowing his materialism, and an interview with Jonathan Franzen. You can subscribe here.
Fanny Trollope, Anthony’s mother, taught America a thing or two about decency and feminism: her scathing pen wrote books about the excesses of American society and its alienation of women. Over at Bloom, Cynthia Miller Coffel writes about this trailblazing woman who should be considered "the patron saint of middle aged women writers."