Sometimes it seems that adolescence lasts forever. Unfortunately, there’s now evidence that it does in many ways. At The Atlantic, Megan Garber reviews Popular, a new book by a psychology professor which examines, well, popularity.
The worst thing about owning your own bookstore? According to Garrison Keillor, it’s that “you do not get a 10 percent discount when you buy books. I don’t know why. It was explained to me once, and I didn’t understand. I mean, I’m the owner, right? But no, that’s not how it’s done.”
Happy almost-Thanksgiving to our American readers! To celebrate, why not whip up a nice bowl of Everyone Get the Hell Out of of the Kitchen Right Now Before I Kill All of You Cranberry-Orange Dressing and pray that none of your other recipes have mistakes in them.
After 73 years, everyone’s favorite redheaded comic book hero will be killed off. Archie Andrews will die in a July issue of the Life With Archie comic. “He dies saving the life of a friend and does it in his usual selfless way,” Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater said. That won’t be the last you’ll see of Archie, though, because Lena Dunham will write a few issues in one of Archie’s other comic incarnations.
In his 2001 treatise, Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, Nicholson Baker lamented the wholesale transfer of newspaper archives to microfilm and the subsequent destruction of the originals (A recent essay here at The Millions argued that this is still a big problem). But, according to an article in The Missourian newspaper, microfilm may at least be far more permanent than easily corrupted digital archives. As executive editor Tom Warhover notes: “How about those perfectly preserved newspaper pages that have been digitally fossilized? They’re usually stored on hard drives, which can wear out quicker than your grandmother’s underwear.”
Scientists confirmed recently that writers are more likely to struggle with mental illness (sometimes, as recently noted, due to syphilis). Since we’re so used to our alcoholic literary greats, and a smattering of suicidal ones (Plath, Woolf, Thompson, Wallace–and many more), this comes as no great surprise. On a happier note, a new study using fMRIs and MFA students has found that writers show different brain patterns than “normal people” just writing: in fact they resemble “expert” thinking patterns of all professionals doing what they’re best at–musicians, athletes, competitive Scrabble players. I don’t know if I’m happier to learn the fMRIs found no gaping black holes, or that MFAs do in fact teach you something.
When The New York Times tried to ask Jhumpa Lahiri what immigrant fiction inspired her, she smacked the question down by saying there is no such thing as immigrant fiction. “If certain books are to be termed immigrant fiction, what do we call the rest? Native fiction? Puritan fiction? This distinction doesn’t agree with me. Given the history of the United States, all American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction.”