Tom McCormack is midway through a three-part series on internet artwork, but not the kind involving Photoshop and GIFs. After exploring the history and usage of emoticons in part one of his series, McCormack traces the roots of ASCII artwork back to Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1918 book Calligrammes. Stay tuned for the conclusion soon: a look at the history of emoji.
Joel Rice has a new column up at McSweeney’s, in which he looks at “the literature of skateboarding.” All in all, this kind of reflective writing should pair nicely with Nick Courage’s fantastic Paris Review piece from last month. (Bonus: Rice’s column linked above also features a nice little bit of David Foster Wallace memorabilia.)
Growing up in California, our own Michael Bourne didn’t have a full sense of his own privilege until 1981, when a chance encounter with a group of teenagers dressed up as skeletons woke him up to the realities of segregation in America. In a long essay for Orange Coast Review, he goes over the meaning of that incident, complete with meditations on Marin County, his abandoned early novel and his family’s history in Danville, Virginia. Pair with: Michael’s piece for The Millions on Tess Taylor’s The Forage House.
When most baseball players retire, they manage other teams, but Derek Jeter will manage a publishing imprint. The shortstop will open a publishing company, Jeter Publishing, in a partnership with Simon & Schuster. He expects to publish middle-grade fiction, children’s picture books, adult nonfiction, and books for children learning how to read. The first title should hit shelves in 2014. Maybe this could have been a good backup career for The Art of Fielding’s Henry Skrimshander.
Ben Lerner, whose 10:04 has been reviewed in Bookforum and the New York Times, made an appearance on The New Directions blog to recommend four books of poetry that have at one point or another graced his nightstand. (No word on how he winnows down his list of books to be stacked on said nightstand, but our own Sonya Chung can offer advice.)
Speaking of France: whether or not you find him disagreeable, Michel Houellebecq is pretty much guaranteed to elicit an emotional response from readers. His new opinion piece in The New York Times is no different. Here’s a review of Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory that refers to him as a “petty misanthrope.”