Art Spiegelman spoke with NPR’s Weekend Edition about his issues with depth perception, his work habits, his changing art interests, and how Maus came about. Bonus: Charles-Adam Foster-Simard checked out the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Spiegelman exhibit last summer.
Riane Konc reviews the app Blinkist: “Blinkist is decidedly not a substitute for reading books. It may be a substitute for reading books that no one actually needs to read in the first place, books that only contained 15 minutes worth of an idea but had to be stretched out to 200 pages for the publishers.” The app summarizes over 2000 nonfiction books in 15 minutes: read Konc’s review and see if you should give it a shot.
“Blume turned 80 earlier this year, and throughout the last 50 years, her tender stories have carved out their own place in feminist history by translating the empowering messages of second-wave feminism to girls often considered too young to understand them.” Marisa Crawford ponders Judy Blume‘s long lasting influence on young girls and their understanding of feminism. Pair with this essay on a day in the life Judy Blume, bookseller.
Regardless of your Valentine’s Day plans, do not take advice from Nate Piven, the protagonist of Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Ron Charles asked Waldman to write another scene of Nate’s romantic saga. “He decided it would be best to hedge his bets by getting her something ‘ironic.'”
Following the Irish release of The Guts, the new Roddy Doyle novel that brings back Jimmy Rabbitte from The Commitments, The Irish Times interviews Doyle, who remembers a time when his writing garnered him death threats. Sample quote: “I drove the guy in the next room demented as I replayed an old tape, repeating the same musical phrase, again and again.”
Writing in the London Review of Books (Reg. Req.), Evgeny Morozov clued me onto how “scientists at UCLA – with funding from the Chinese government – have built an ‘image to text’ system that automatically produces text summaries of what is taking place in captured video.” A similar technology was also developed by NYU student Matt Richardson, whose “descriptive camera” can “automatically describe the scene in a camera’s viewfinder, which, when the image was uploaded, would make it easier to find.” Meanwhile one Twitter is describing typical Instagram shots in 140 characters or fewer.
Anna Holmes takes a good look at Hunger Games Tweets, the Tumblr dedicated to rounding up the astonishing number of racist and culturally careless fans of Suzanne Collins’ books. Later on, she mentions a University of Wisconsin study which found that “only 9% of the 3,400 children’s books published [in 2010] contained significant cultural or ethnic diversity.”
The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century — namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.