Jacob Silverman reviews two new novels – Note to Self and The More You Ignore Me – that “take on one incarnation of the Internet: the Internet as pathology” but ultimately fail to succeed “in exploring or critiquing digital life with any authority.” He notes that “like any technology, [the Internet] has to be shaped for the purposes of literature.”
Ben Lerner has a story [subscription required] in this week’s New Yorker that, like his debut novel Leaving the Atocha Station, features a protagonist named The Author. The magazine interviewed Lerner about the invitation to blur his fiction with his autobiography. He says that his work in an exercise in “activating those questions in peculiar ways—but the questions, not the answers, are what strike me as interesting.”
“It’s possible that when it comes to books, we have overestimated the means of delivery and have underestimated the importance of the content conveyed in the media.” A recent study demonstrated that preschoolers demonstrated the same level of reading comprehension regardless of whether the story they were, ahem, consuming came in digital or analog form, reports MOBY Lives. For more on the print vs. screen debate, see Alix Christie on the persistence of physical books; and of course it would be criminal not to mention our own founder C. Max Magee‘s killer compilation The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books.
“Others may prefer to will themselves into James Bond’s dinner jacket and Aston Martin DB4, but I’d rather slip into a !Kung hunter’s penis sheath and heft his hunting spear.” At The Guardian, Will Self explores his odd preference for deeply uncomfortable comfort reading.
The New York Public Library released more than 180,000 of its public-domain items, ranging from maps and manuscripts to ancient texts and sheet music. The files can be downloaded on the library’s website, available to the public without restriction.