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Interesting Things I’ve Read Recently 12/4/15

December 4, 2015

Haven’t done one of these in a while. With news of the world so fraught that checking social media is starting to feel stressful, I present a collection of cheerful, gentle and whimsically odd link tidbits.

How Social Media Changed the Way We Read Books (HuffPo Books):

Such conversations are fun ways for readers to immerse themselves further into authors’ worlds, generating the deeper sense of intimacy that writing is supposed to be about. The only danger in this is that when that sense of intimacy is established — when author and reader are put on level playing fields — the reader sometimes begins to feel ownership of the book’s content. Trust that the author knows what she’s talking about can be diminished, as myriad interpretations grow into larger, more emphatic conclusions. The book, once a solid physical object, risks becoming a fluid thing, subject to quick shifts in meaning, tone and content, like a chat with a friend. 

I like the way social media has given authors another word platform, especially when it allows a window into their ordinary thoughts, writing process, or the interesting things they’re reading and noticing. And I admit it gives me a thrill to have an author respond personally to one of my Tweets. What struck me about the section I posted above was “myriad interpretations grow into larger, more emphatic conclusions…” That absolutely predates social media: After all, isn’t that the point of English class discussion?

C.S. Lewis’s Greatest Fiction: Convincing American Kids They Would Like Turkish Delight (Atlas Obscura) I have tried multiple instances of Turkish Delight, because I was so convinced that Edmund wouldn’t betray Narnia for something that tasted that gross. Nope: still sticky and gross. Getting people to describe what they’d imagined made a great approach to this article.

10 Surprising Secrets of New York History  (Mental Floss) includes a nod to Aaron Burr (sir!) and tidbits about pneumatic tubes that used to be part of the mail delivery system. One of these days, I’m going to sit down with Gotham, the gigantic tome of New York history that’s been sitting on my shelf. Until then, New York history is delightful in morsel-size, especially with an assist from one of The Bowery Boys.

An ice cream mold in the shape of George Washington’s head exists. (National Museum of American History blog.) It was a thing that was commercially available. Must’ve been great fun at picnics.

Here is what happens when you search Google Images for “tiger on a couch.”


What cheer and whimsy have you read this week?

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 4, 2015 2:53 pm

    Earlier this year, a coworker brought a box of Turkish Delight back from a visit to Istanbul. It had been bought in a VERY posh shop. And for the first time I did not hate turkish delight! Because this version was not cloyingly sweet and the flavorings were very delicate and fine. It was the 1% of turkish delight. And totally NOT what Edmund gorged on.

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