On Monday we mentioned that the MTA has started offering free e-books underground as part of its Subway Reads program, but they weren’t the first to make books an integral part of the public transit experience. London’s Books on the Underground was first, but then came a more interesting development in Australia: book ninjas. Books on the Rails is a gonzo experiment started by two Melbourne residents who began releasing free books – actual, paper books – into the wilds of the city’s tram system. About 300 books are currently in circulation in what’s possibly the world’s most open lending library.
One thing that pretty much everyone can agree on is that Go Set a Watchman is a controversial book. Our own Michael Bourne said it “fails as a work of art in every way except as a corrective to the standard sentimental reading of Atticus Finch.” At Slate, Dan Kois, Meghan O’Rourke and Katy Waldman debate the main questions the novel raised.
Good news for you! If you’re a creative person, you’re “no more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders than other people.” Bad news for your family! If you’re a creative person, you’re “more likely to have a close relative with a disorder, including anorexia and, to some extent, autism.”
East of the West author Miroslav Penkov is sitting pretty these days. The Bulgarian fiction writer recently nabbed the BBC International Short Story Award for his collection’s titular story, “East of the West.” With a purse of £15,000, this is the world’s biggest prize for short stories, though typically it considers work by British authors only. However this year, due to the 2012 Olympics, the field was expanded to include international writers. All five judges unanimously picked Penkov’s work over the nine other submissions. You can read an excerpt online courtesy of Google Books, and you can get a little more acquainted with Penkov’s themes on Picador’s Tumblr.
“Motherhood remains more of a choice for some than others, and yet our varying degrees of agency are rarely acknowledged by the mainstream narrative upheld by the vast majority of what has (disparagingly) been referred to as ‘mommy lit’.” An essay in Buzzfeed about pregnancy, queerness, and three upcoming memoirs about motherhood (and non-motherhood). Pair with: an essay about motherhood as muse.