If you thought the English language went downhill when the emoticon was introduced, you can blame a 17th-century poet. Editor Levi Stahl found that English poet Robert Herrick used the first emoticon in his 1648 poem “To Fortune.” As Herrick writes, “Tumble me down, and I will sit/ Upon my ruines (smiling yet :)” For more on the potential ruin of language, read Fiona Maazel’s piece on commercial grammar.
This has nothing to do with books, but if you’re like me, it’s important, life-altering, and worthy of constant news coverage: The Girl Scouts are releasing a new cookie for their 100th Anniversary. The lemony “Savannah Smiles” will commemorate the Scouts’ southern roots. Need help tracking down a box? I suggest the Girl Scout Cookie Locator app for your smartphone.
Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, a billionaire, a philanthropist, and an amateur book club leader. He posted his summer reading list on his website, The Gates Notes. You won’t find any beach reads because Gates prefers nonfiction such as However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls and The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?. You can read the latter along with him.
Bookseller and blogger Emily Pullen discusses the e-reading experience in this morning’s Shelf Awareness: “I have noticed that when I read on the device, my attention span is somewhat short. I rarely read for more than an hour–usually about 20 minutes. It’s not because it is uncomfortable for my eyes or my hands. Instead I just don’t get as immersed.”