If you were never satisfied with Hamlet’s answer to the famous “to be or not to be?” question, now is your chance to change it. Ryan North rewrote Hamlet as a choose-your-own-adventure book, To Be or Not To Be. You can play as Ophelia, Hamlet, or King Hamlet and choose from more than 110 alternate deaths. Brain Pickings got a first look at some of the book’s excellent illustrations.
Ever since the advent of modern neuroscience, the language of the brain scientist has entered our common vocabulary. Words and phrases like “synapse,” “chemical imbalance” and “hardwired” point to its relevance in contemporary culture. At Page-Turner, a look at how cognitive language and our notion of attention affects the way we think about fiction and music, with particular reference to On Beauty by Zadie Smith and Orfeo by Richard Powers.
n+1’s Research Collective has posted the introduction to Ellen Willis’s No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays (1992), and plans to post a series of essays by the seamless activist and writer– “Her refusal to subsume her personality to a movement, or to ignore the things that were important to her, remains an inspiration.”
This week has been full of news about unorthodox children’s book authors. First, there was Keith Richards’s picture book, and now an Australian academic claims that Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung wrote children’s books, too. “I was astounded that children’s books (purportedly) written by Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung were vastly more readable than one would expect from any political leader in the democratic west, still less a severe authoritarian,” doctoral student Christopher Richardson said.
The trailer for City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg’s highly anticipated 944-page debut novel, is finally here. The trailer features a new song by Paul Maroon and Year in Reading alumnus Hamilton Leithauser. Also check out the opening paragraph of the novel.