“He combed through the sahaflar, the second-hand bookshops that line the streets around the Grand Bazaar, their dusty wares stacked on haphazard tables. He sat by the New Mosque, drinking tea out of tulip-shaped cups, playing backgammon, and watching the fishermen’s wooden boats launch into the dirty waters of the Golden Horn.” For Public Books, Suzy Hansen writes about James Baldwin‘s less-well-documented time in Istanbul. Pair with this piece from our pages about the famed author, race, and fatherhood.
Brian Nitz wants environmentalists and writers to seriously consider whether the word “sustainable” is, well, sustainable. (Related: this XKCD comic)
Luddites rejoice! If you still use a manual typewriter, you already know that they’re superior to laptops for writing. Now comes proof that they’re also better at making art than text-based computer art programs like ASCII and its “colored cousin,” ANSI. The video’s narrator tells us, in German, that many of the subjects autographed their typewriter-generated portraits, and the Pope sent a thank you note — and cash!
“On the other hand, I do spend endless hours mulling over the mystery of what others like. Again and again the question arises: How can they?” Tim Parks asks us why we enjoy reading what we read at The New York Review of Books. For Millions readers’ favorites, check out October’s Top 10.
“There is, however, more to these poems than just the occasional chuckle. The Google autocomplete suggestions are based on previous searches by actual people all around the world. In the cold blue glow of their computer screens, they ask ‘why am I alone’ and ‘why do fat girls have high standards’. They wonder how to roll a joint and whether it is too early to say ‘I love you’. They seek information on ninjas, cannibals, and Rihanna, and sometimes they just ask ‘am I better off dead?’”
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the “Ted Wilson Reviews the World” series over at Electric Literature. This week, he takes on everyone’s (least?) favorite confection — sprinkles. Unsurprisingly, sprinkles score a bit higher than Anxiety did a couple weeks ago: “Sprinkles can take an ordinary cupcake and turn it into a cupcake that looks like a rainbow shattered and fell all over it, and then the leprechaun at the end of that rainbow hid inside the cupcake and the only way to get him is to eat it.”