At Atlas Obscura, Sarah Durn looks at the history of penny dreadfuls, “grisly tales of murder, crime, and the supernatural” that enthralled Victorian children and teenagers and kept them reading. “The popularity of penny dreadfuls had another side,” Durn writes. “They helped to promote literacy, especially among younger readers, at a time when, for many children, formal education was nonexistent or, well, Dickensian. […] People were invested in the stories of Jack Harkaway and Sweeney Todd, and there was only one good way to keep up—learn to read.”
In a new ten-part Believer series, Sheila Heti is interviewing ten of her “favorite people on Twitter” so they can “talk about what they do on Twitter and why – their Twitter philosophies, their do’s and don’ts, and what they make of the medium in general.” Kicking off the series, we have Heti’s interview with Kimmy Walters, who you may know better as @arealliveghost. (You can bookmark this link if you want to keep track of all of the updates.)
Michael Wolff’s palace intrigue book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Whitehouse has dominated the news cycle this week. After receiving a cease-and-desist letter, publisher Henry Holt and Co. responded by pushing the publication date up four days. Currently #1 on Amazon’s Bestseller list, many independent booksellers say they have sold all their copies as well.
Andrew Phelps interviews Sarah Wolzin, director of MIT’s new Open Documentary Lab, which “brings technologists, storytellers, and scholars together to advance the new arts of documentary.” The Lab, according to Phelps, is “part think tank, part incubator for filmmakers and hackers.”