Curiosities

Virtual Typesetting

"Many of the basic rules around typographic contrast and readability for print or 2D screens change in VR. When type becomes even a little bit more volumetric, the way people perceive it and interact with it changes. The type needs to be rooted in something real, otherwise it gets a little uncanny for the user.” What should typography look like in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality interfaces? The Drum considers (via The Digital Reader). Wonder what a book fetishist might thing of all this...
Curiosities

A Flock of Pages

“Every one of these books is a herd of animals.” The Atlantic reports that a group of archaeologists and geneticists in the UK have used mere crumbs of parchment to study the DNA of several thousand-year-old illuminated manuscripts, the pages of which were made of cow and sheep skins.
Curiosities

Begin Now

"You don’t have to immediately quit your job to become a writer. You need only to start writing." The New York Times transcribes an excerpt from the "Dear Sugars" podcast with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. For more writerly advice, see our own columnists Swarm & Spark on whether writing a novel will jeopardize your mental health.
Curiosities

Baldwin on the Bosphorus

“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.
Curiosities

A Separatist Syllabus

How do readers recover from an abominable weekend but with a reading list, in this case one suggested on Twitter by Jay Varner, a writer and instructor based in Charlottesville. Varner links out to 12 articles about "why so many continue to believe an unequivocally false historical narrative surrounding the Confederacy," including pieces by New Orleans' mayor Mitch Landrieu, Slate's Jamelle Bouie, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose Between the World and Me made our roundup from last year of the best political fiction (yes, we do realize it's decidedly not fiction).
Curiosities

Bulletproof

"When a female politician’s worst crime is to be unlikeable and uncompassionate, how much ration­ality and coldness is acceptable for women intel­lectuals and artists? Just how tough is tough enough?"
Curiosities

Letting Autism Actually Speak

“If we have no internal lives, then artists are free to make them for us, or to use us as tools for providing depth and motivation to the non-autistic characters, the real ones.” Sarah Kurchak writes for Electric Literature on the abysmal state of autistic representation in books, film, and television, namechecking both The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Visit From the Goon Squad, which we considered here and here, respectively.
Curiosities

The Longest Hike

“At the train station in Cerbère, France, M. and I have survived the grueling hike on the Sentier de la Liberté Walter Benjamin.” For Catapult, Gwen Strauss writes about climbing the path that Benjamin used to flee the Gestapo, only to take his own life at its terminus. See also: Kyle Chayka's recommendation of The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in our own pages just last week.
Curiosities

Unknown Parables

“The rest of her speech to the U.N. that day is an exact outline for what she wanted the rest of the Parable books to be about — a way out that she did not live to write herself.” For Electric Literature, Kristopher Jansma explores the unwritten Parable books of acclaimed sci-fi author Octavia Butler. Pair with our consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.
Curiosities

This Old House

It's been another long week. Lighten the crush of news with The Guardian's literary quiz, in which you match the house to the writer/book it inspired. And once you've gotten your score, perhaps take a vicarious tour of the House of Brontë?