Does reading a novel for a few hours make you feel smarter? You’re not alone: a new study suggests that reading novels heightens activity in the left temporal cortex, also known as the part of the brain associated with receptivity to language. The best part? The changes last for five days.
If you like the music of groups like Portishead, CocoRosie, and the Cocteau Twins, you might be interested in the eerie musical dreamscapes of Emily Wells, a gifted violinist and vocalist whose work combines classical, folk, and hip hop. Here she performs “Symphony 1 In the Barrel of a Gun.”
“The notebook was there, unharmed, tucked inside a Ziploc freezer bag, with ‘Sep. 8, 1909,’ written in black marker.” After Hurricane Irma passed over Key West, Florida, writer and historian Brewster Chamberlin confirmed the relic he had found in May was safe: a notebook containing the first short story by a 10-year-old Ernest Hemingway. See also: The Millions’ own Michael Bourne’s essay on Hemingway as a “Middlebrow Revolutionary.”
Most actors don’t go on The Tonight Show to promote literature, but leave it to James Franco to be the first to brag about getting his poetry M.F.A. to Jimmy Fallon. He discussed his new book, Directing Herbert White, and his mentor Frank Bidart. For more on the Bidart/Franco friendship, check out our own Janet Potter’s recap of attending an event featuring the two writers.
Fifty years ago, Frank O’Hara released Lunch Poems, a collection of remarkably informal poetry that rebuked the more academic verse of his day. As a tribute, Dwight Garner writes about the importance of the book in the Times, arguing that O’Hara’s grasp of the zeitgeist is the reason he appeared on Mad Men. For more on the poet’s legacy, take a look at Christopher Richards on O’Hara’s lessons for being gay.
“I’ve come to understand that I’ll rarely experience that first rush of discovery again, and perhaps that’s the problem with re-reading. It reminds us both of where we’ve been and where we can’t go again.” Sarah Seltzer wonders why do we reread books as children but not as adults? Pair with Lisa Levy‘s essay on “The Pleasures and Perils of Rereading.”