“Reading is a type of reckoning with the self. That may sound like a simplistic platitude, but platitudes exist only because they are true, our self-serving intellectual mirrors be damned.” Cher Tan shares a lifetime’s reading history with Catapult, tracing her trajectory from “[k]eeping up with the boys” during high school to this past year, in which she made a personal pact to read only books written by people of color. Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone in conversation with six authors on their childhood reading.
Jessica Love writes for The American Scholar about some recent psychological studies on the art and perspective of storytelling. Of particular interest is the way “the first person does seem to encourage us to identify with the narrator, especially when that narrator is a lot like us.” Not that identifying with narrators is the primary purpose of reading, as the New Yorker reminds us in a piece against “relatability,” but it’s something to consider the next time you pick up a novel and find a character who seems to be just like you.
“It’s somewhat surprising that typos and grammatical errors hold this much power given the speed and frequency of written communication that characterizes the digital age. Despite our ‘sent from my iPhone’ disclaimers, it appears we should still be diligent about avoiding written mistakes. Especially if were writing to a conscientious introvert whose not very agreeable. Their the wrst.” On proving something that we all suspected to be true: less agreeable people care the most about grammar.
Coulrophobes take heed! You’re not scared of clowns because they’re inherently dark, or even because you caught a few minutes of Stephen King’s IT on television. In fact, you probably owe your fear of clowns to a fellow named Joseph Grimaldi, the “Homo erectus of clown evolution.” When this progenitor died in 1837, a young Charles Dickens “was charged with editing his memoirs.” The resulting portrait, relays Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, was what ultimately “water[ed] the seeds in popular imagination of the scary clown.”
Recommended Reading: Almost a century ago, two students at Oxford wrote back to Ophelia: “Ophelia racked with phantasy, / And Sigismunda, sick with rue — / Ladies, why did ye choose to die / When all the world was made for you?” Find out more about the poets Doreen Wallace and Eleanore Geach at The Toast. We recently wrote about why authors continually turn to Shakespeare.
“Dickinson wasn’t a madwoman, but she was maddened with rage—against a culture that had no place for a woman with her own fiercely independent mind and will.” On Emily Dickinson’s self-creation at Lit Hub. Pair with a piece on Paul Legault’s English-to-English translations of Dickinson’s poems.