“Long before feminism made fashion a guilty pleasure, my first experience of the sisterhood among strangers took place in a communal dressing room.” Judith Thurman writes for The New Yorker about Women in Clothes and her experiences in thrift stores and clothing swaps. For more about the connections between feminism, dressing and literature, check out Rachel Signer‘s Millions review of the same anthology.
This week, Football Book Club will be reading Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright and posting essays about Brain Fever by Kimiko Hahn -- its selection from last week — and life without the NFL. Going Clear was a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and has been turned into a documentary by HBO.
As literary genres go, bathroom graffiti ranks somewhere between obscenities carved into desks and poorly spelled comments in terms of respectability. Yet it’s still a form that could reveal interesting things, which is why a group of researchers took a series of fact-finding trips to public stalls across America. Their takeaway? “The mere fact of being in a public bathroom could be skewing how people choose to present themselves when they uncap that Sharpie.” Related: Buzz Poole on The History of American Graffiti.
"If Nietzsche was right that we need our illusions, I’ll go one further and posit that we need our illusionists: to disprove our eyes, investigate our dreams, and sometimes charm the money from our pockets." Here's a fantastic essay from The Rumpus on psychics, love spells, and easy exits.
We are all by now familiar with J.K. Rowling's elaborate, hand-drawn outlines for the Harry Potter series, but what if all plots could be simplified further? Down to, let's say, graphs? And not even an infinite number of graphs, but just six? The Paris Review considers the work of Matthew Jockers, a literature professor who studies “the relationship between sentiment and plot shape in fiction.”
In the New York Times, Mokoto Rich highlights the superfluousness of book covers in the digital age and the marketing challenges that result. cf. "Ether Between the Covers: Gifting Books in a Digital Age."