On the New Yorker’s Elements blog, our own Mark O’Connell writes about Cloak, a new app which lets you avoid people you don’t want to bump into by accident. Despite the fact that Mark can see himself using the app, he finds it “ultimately troubling,” in large part because it strikes him as “such a lonely thing to have achieved through technological control of our social environments.” (Speaking of apps, have you read Mark’s epic e-book?)
“A colouring book, Colouring in the Lions, will head the list for children and feature vintage art from the NYPL archive. Also planned is a yet-to-be-titled picture book featuring Patience and Fortitude – the two lion statues that stand at the entrance to the library’s main building – and a YA novel based on the true story of a family who lived in the library.” The Guardian reports on a partnership between the New York Public Library and Macmillan publishers to produce five to eight books per year inspired by the library’s collections.
Sometimes, when you read a lot of work by a single writer, you end up writing unconscious imitations of their work. The reliability of this effect raises an ourobouric possibility: what if you reviewed a writer’s fiction in their own style? At The Awl, Sarah Marian Seltzer reviews Henry James as Henry James. You could also read Charles-Adam Foster-Simard on binge-reading James’s fiction.
The Believer posts a 2003 essay featuring Donald Barthelme’s reading list, which came secondhand to Kevin Moffett, a self-professed non-reader: “Barthelme’s only guidance, passed on by Padgett Powell, one of Barthelme’s former students at the University of Houston and my teacher at the time, was to attack the books ‘in no particular order, just read them,’ which is exactly what I, in my confident illiteracy, resolved to do.” (via The Paris Review)
The latest installment of Housing Works Bookstore Café’s biweekly podcast features a conversation between James Wood and László Krasznahorkai. (We interviewed him for our site last year, too.) The Hungarian author’s next book, Seiobo There Below, was highlighted in our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
I’ve long evangelized Mary Roach’s writing because she has such a knack for conveying extremely complicated information in an incredibly entertaining way. (See also: Susan Casey and Michael Lewis.) From cadavers to space travel, she focuses on our world’s most natural curiosities – and now she’s diving into perhaps the most natural curiosity of all: digestion. In her new book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Roach takes readers on a journey through their own gullets. To get a brief idea, check out the book trailer. (It’s very “Innerspace”)