Why should a college student major in English? It’s a question with hundreds of answers, but one of the most common is that reading, more so than other activities, makes you a better person. It sharpens your mind and hones your sense of morality. But what if this comforting idea — as close as you can get to a conviction held by all writers — has little to no basis in reality?
In this week’s New York Times Magazine, a collaboration with ProPublica has produced a 13,000-word (!) article on what happened at New Orleans Memorial Medial Center where a number of patients died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Who says long-form journalism is dead!
Perhaps inspired by the similarly-named astronomer, Freeman Dyson wrote an entry for the NYT’s By the Book series, in which he praises Edward Wilson, Kristin Ghodsee, Robert Kanigel and Octavia Butler, the last of whom he dubs his favorite novelist of all time. Sample quote: “The Magic City can be read on two levels, as a children’s adventure story and as a critique of modern society. Karl Marx was a friend of [Edith] Nesbit’s family.”
Neil Gaiman announced the launch of his first video game, Wayward Manor. The horror-fantasy author (whose latest book was recently reviewed by our own Tess Malone) told Mashable that the game follows “the misadventures of a ghost who wants nothing more than a peaceful afterlife.”
In more “Dylan at 70” news, the knowledgeable Ed Ward reviews the compilation How Many Roads: Black America Sings Bob Dylan for The Oxford American. (Editor’s Note: The omission from this album of Nina Simone‘s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” and Ben E. King‘s “Lay Lady Lay” are both unconscionable.)