Recommended Reading: a piece from the New York Review of Books blog on modern attention spans and what they mean for literature. Hint: it’s not looking too promising. Tim Parks closes with a prediction that “the novel of elegant, highly distinct prose, of conceptual delicacy and syntactical complexity, will tend to divide itself up into shorter and shorter sections, offering more frequent pauses where we can take time out. The larger popular novel, or the novel of extensive narrative architecture, will be ever more laden with repetitive formulas, and coercive, declamatory rhetoric to make it easier and easier, after breaks, to pick up, not a thread, but a sturdy cable.”
Need to spice up your writing? Try one of McSweeney’s punctuation marks such as the Yellow-Winged Apostrophe, which likes “to ‘peace out’ of its obligation to indicate possession or contraction,” or the Academic Ellipsis, which “is used by those who wish to demonstrate just how much more they know about how to use ellipses than you do.”
This summer, Emily Books will launch a new imprint with Coffee House Press, featuring books “by women and gay men and gender outsiders—or people who had transgressive, interesting, weird personalities.” Also check out this Millions essay on what we call what women write.
Over on LARB, Marie Rutkoski traces the geneology of Cinderella and explores the theme of nature that runs through the classic fairytale’s many iterations. It’s also well worth revisiting Kirsty Logan’s piece exploring how contemporary authors have revisited the story of Snow White.