Peek inside a part of the DIY publishing world: zines. “Before the Internet democratized media, self-publishing was one of few ways for ordinary people to record and share with a wider audience. Zines on old taboos like sexual orientation could provide a staticky connection to a community of others with nonstandard identities in an age before chat rooms and message boards and — perhaps most importantly — simple ways to anonymize yourself.”
It’s been a full week, which means you’ve had to time to digest the half-season finale of AMC’s Mad Men. But before you dive into the works on our Mad Men Reading List while awaiting the premiere of the next half-season, you should take some time to read Phillip Maciak’s incredible recap and analysis of “Waterloo.”
Recommended Reading: Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin on writing for free (or not).
Lord Byron is perhaps our most prominent example of an extravagant writer in a bygone age. There’s a reason his antics earned him a popular adjective. However, he’s not the only writer from long ago to live large, as made clear in this New Yorker piece by Elizabeth Kolbert -- inspired by the release of two new biographies -- that deals with the up-and-down life and reputation of Seneca. Sample quote: “Seneca’s fortune made possible a life style that was lavish by Roman or, for that matter, Hollywood standards.”
"They might underline a page number, draw a little star on the last page, or write their first initial somewhere in the book." A librarian in Scotland discovered a secret code used by elderly patrons to track which books they already read. From our archives: an essay on the importance of libraries and how they can stay relevant.
New this week are Ron Rash's The Cove, Brian Evenson's Immobility, and Volume Two of Susan Sontag's Journals (all books highlighted in our January preview). Out in paperback this week is David Foster Wallace's The Pale King, from which we recently ran a previously unpublished excerpt.