“One Friday evening in March, I took the train to Columbia University and walked into one of the strangest and most interesting classes I’d ever seen. It was the Laboratory of Literary Architecture, part of the Mellon Visiting Artists and Thinkers Program at Columbia University School of the Arts, and a multimedia workshop in which writing students, quite literally, create architectural models of literary texts.”
Recommended Reading: Tyler Stoddard Smith’s satirical essay on the new literary movement “The Real Newism” at Hobart. “Did Virgil go to hell? No. Did Virginia Woolf go to Disney World? No, and it turns out that Orlando isn’t a place, but a dude. And did Truman Capote ever have breakfast at Tiffany’s? Yes, but the eggs Benedict was cold and the bloody marys were ‘bullshit.'”
A Mississippi school district has decided to pull Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird from its junior-high reading list because it “makes people uncomfortable.” The novel, which frequently tops the American Library Association’s “Frequently Challenged Book” list, tackles racism. See also: an essay on the symbolism of mockingbirds.
What did we read in the Obama era? Christian Lorentzen has some answers. Apart from individual books like The Flamethrowers and The Art of Fielding, he comes up with some genres that have dominated the past eight years, including autofiction, works of trauma and fables of meritocracy. (You can probably guess where Leaving the Atocha Station ends up.)
A Canadian Ph.D. student wrote (and successfully defended!) a 52,000 word dissertation that features almost no punctuation. Titled “Indigenous Architecture through Indigenous Knowledge,” the dissertation has no periods, commas or semi-colons, a choice intended to “make a point” about colonial and aboriginal identity. Canada’s National Post has the story.
“I think the key to social media for authors is remembering this: its main purpose is really to show that you are a real human being who lives in this world.” Year in Reading alums (respectively) Celeste Ng, Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, and Adam M. Grant talk to LitHub about how to be a writer on the internet.