What would happen if you had a clock to countdown the exact number of days until you died? Our own Mark O’Connell discovers the paranoia of having the Days of Life app measure his mortality at The New Yorker. “Days of Life functions like a reductio ad absurdum of the logic of personal productivity. The pie chart becomes a special way of being afraid: an image of the self as a micro-economy of numbered days.” For a more uplifting version of O’Connell, check out his 2013 Year in Reading post.
Samantha Chang, the director of Iowa’s Writing Workshop, weighed in on the Girls storyline in which Lena Dunham’s character gets accepted into the school’s MFA program. “It’s very possible that she could have gotten in,” Chang says of Hannah Horvath, Dunham’s character. Meanwhile, University of Iowa officials have apparently denied the HBO show’s request to film on-campus for its next season.
The new David Mitchell novel, The Bone Clocks, ends in rural Ireland, which explains why Kathryn Schulz chose to interview Mitchell on a walk through the Irish countryside. At Vulture, she talks with Mitchell about supercontinents, writing in childhood and the global scope of his work. You could also read the story Mitchell recently wrote on Twitter.
“The power and meaning of the written word are central to the complexities we face today—both as a nation, and globally. To my mind, freedom of expression is a basic human right.” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan has been named the new president of PEN America. Pair with: our own Edan Lepucki‘s 2010 profile of Egan.