“Literature is the record we have of the conversation between those of us now alive on earth and everyone who’s come before and will come after, the cumulative repository of humanity’s knowledge, wonder, curiosity, passion, rage, grief and delight. It’s as useless as a spun-sugar snowflake and as practical as a Swiss Army knife.” Dana Stevens and Adam Kirsch discuss whether literature should be considered useful.
Out this week: Hunger by Roxane Gay; The Changeling by Victor LaValle; The Accomplished Guest by Ann Beattie; So Much Blue by Percival Everett; Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal; The City Always Wins by Omar Robert Hamilton; and Blind Spot by Teju Cole. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
"Many of the basic rules around typographic contrast and readability for print or 2D screens change in VR. When type becomes even a little bit more volumetric, the way people perceive it and interact with it changes. The type needs to be rooted in something real, otherwise it gets a little uncanny for the user.” What should typography look like in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality interfaces? The Drum considers (via The Digital Reader). Wonder what a book fetishist might thing of all this...
Cheers to Joshua Cohen for this early look at Péter Nádas' mind-bending magnum opus, Parallel Stories. Our own review will appear sometime in 2014, when we finish reading. (But we can already say that all 1,100-page novels should begin, as this one does, with a dead body.)
Luke Epplin examines the life and legacy of Stan “The Man” Musial, who died last week. In particular Epplin takes issue with how well-intentioned biographers have, over the years, “effectively turned Musial into a cardboard cutout, a bygone era's one-dimensional paragon of constancy, stability, community fealty, and humility, devoid of the temperamental shadings that humanize public figures.”