Do you ever find yourself skimming novels looking for exciting words and hyperlinks? You aren’t the only one mixing up the digital and print reading worlds. Neuroscientists believe we are developing new brain circuits for skimming online information that are rewiring how we’ve approached reading for centuries. Pair with: Our essay on how writing is also changing to fit our fragmented attention span.
“What makes a word ‘real’?” Should groan-inducing words like “adorkable” be counted? Anne Curzan, language historian, gives a Ted talk about the human element in dictionaries and the importance of slang.
I can’t recommend John Jeremiah Sullivan‘s 7,000-word article on The Pale King highly enough – not because he gets everything right, but because it’s what long-form writing about books should look like: passionate, lucid, wide-ranging, and awfully fun to read. I salute GQ for running it, and hope to see more literary coverage there in the future.
Tournament of Books fans: The official Tournament of Books bracket has been posted. Along with an introduction to this year’s literary throwdown, readers can get a gorgeous bracket poster, sure to become the decorative centerpiece of any library wall.
“Imagination for me has always been about the spaces in between, a sort of filler that completes a picture. If what we know is the jaggedness of the ocean floor, then imagination is the body of water that defines what is hidden and what is seen.” This essay on interstices and representing Hawai’i Creole English as a legitimate literary participant is excellent.
“All over the country research libraries are canceling subscriptions to academic journals,” notes Robert Darnton, “because they are caught between decreasing budgets and increasing costs. The logic of the bottom line is inescapable, but there is a higher logic that deserves consideration—namely, that the public should have access to knowledge produced with public funds.”
“Exorbitant cost aside, if I can have the complete works of Shakespeare electronically beamed into my brain in under ten minutes, can I really say I’ve experienced Shakespeare? There is something organic about the experience of moving your eyeballs from left to right over an LCD screen in order to take in a sequence of marks the brain then must interpret as words, all the while using your hands to grip a lightweight, durable device.” Arguing for e-books over beaming text into your brain.