“Like walkie-talkies that require a button be pressed to speak and released to hear, does reading require that either the voice of the author or the voice of the reader’s consciousness be silenced at any given moment? Such an analogy suggests that reading is an act of hospitality toward another’s mind, in which we silence our voice in courtesy to the voice of another’s consciousness, a voice that alternates with our own in conversation.” John Biguenet on silent reading.
A new academic journal dedicated to critical explorations of “cultural products and services designated as pornographic” will debut next spring. “Porn Studies is a direct outgrowth of the mounting scholarly interest in the topic of pornography as a significant, yet relatively under-examined, realm of popular culture,” writes Lynn Comella.
Recommended Reading: This excerpt from The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Laqueur. In it, Laqueur explores the cultural peculiarities of mourning and the necrobotany of the yew tree, or “tree of the dead.”
“In an ironic twist, Super Terrain, a publisher in France, has created a new edition of Bradbury’s classic that actually requires extreme heat in order to be read.” The prototype copy of Fahrenheit 451, which looks fully blacked-out until you apply heat, may be available to the general book-buying public in 2018. Check out: an essay about Ray Bradbury from our archives.
“It would be hard for anybody who has dealt with suicide to not have a heightened awareness of things, to perhaps be a little more cautious about things.” A Colorado school district has officially pulled the book 13 Reasons Why out of circulation, reports The New York Post; not surprisingly, some librarians are rankled. Pair with this case against book banning, which focuses on number 15 on the list of 100 most challenged books released by the ALA, Toni Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye.
“I saw a novel with a mysterious-looking black woman on the cover. That was why I picked it up – because of the African woman on the cover of a book in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section. I read the first page and my eyes nearly popped out.” Book Riot has a killer roundup of posts in honor of Octavia Butler‘s birthday today, including five other sci-fi authors on being inspired by her writing (that’s Nnedi Okorafor above). Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.