In a Simpsons episode from the late nineties, Lisa Simpson, concerned that her mental skills may be deteriorating, manages to finagle her way onto a local TV news broadcast, where she urges the residents of Springfield to read two books: To Kill a Mockingbird and Harriet the Spy. At first glance, the two novels might not seem to have that much in common, but as Anna Holmes argues in a blog post for The New Yorker, the books share “ideas about the complexity, sophistication, and occasional wickedness of young girls’ imaginations.” (You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Malcolm Gladwell and To Kill a Mockingbird.)
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months – 73% – has remained largely unchanged since 2012. And when people do reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product. See also our essay on the persistence of physical books and, of course, The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, edited by our own C. Max Magee.
You may have heard that “because” is a preposition now, because Internet. What you may not have heard is that the American Dialect Society named “because” their Word of the Year. Their reasoning? The word’s new meaning allows us to omit full clauses, which makes it useful. (Hilariously, they also named Sharknado the “most unnecessary” new word.)
If you’re still looking for spring break plans, why not travel to a fictional place? In the weirdest tourism trend lately, travelers are visiting the real places made famous by fiction, including the Ghostbusters firehouse and the Overlook Hotel from The Shining.