Hello! The world is possibly crumbling around us, but Vox’s weekly roundup of the best writing the internet has to offer on books and related topics shall persist. So, here are some nice things to read about books!
- Do you remember back in 2008, when J.K. Rowling wrote a short prequel sketch to Harry Potter on a postcard and sold it at a charity auction? (It’s a fun little story, and worth a read if you haven’t seen it.) Anyway: The postcard has been stolen! Rowling and police alike are begging for true Potter fans to refuse to buy the (extremely valuable) card if given the opportunity.
- Here’s how the British Library is digitizing a 6-foot-tall atlas from 1660.
- The New Republic explains why a minor tweak in the way Amazon sells books has publishers terrified:
The biggest worry is what impact it could have on America’s literary culture. “The connection that people fail to make,” Authors Guild President Mary Rasenberger told me, “is that if publishers have less money, then they have less to invest. That means they can’t afford to take risks on the kinds of challenging books they’ve published for centuries.”
- Also at the New Republic is a breakdown of the business of Ivanka Trump’s new book:
This is not how someone who is concerned about ethics behaves. It is particularly galling for someone who has loudly proclaimed she will not do any promotion for her book. It suggests that Trump, as far as ethics are concerned, would have happily gone on a book tour or appeared on television to sell the book—if it weren’t for the fact that she would have received questions in public or on national television about her father and the many ways in which he has been antagonistic to the advancement of women in this country. Using social media is a canny way to control the narrative.
- Weird Twitter poet Patricia Lockwood talked with Mallory Ortberg, the founder of gone-but-not-forgotten website the Toast, about Lockwood’s new book, Priestdaddy:
I have spent, I would say, at least Some amount of time trying to figure out the boundaries between “Dad Internet” and “Daddy Internet,” and I think this book might be at the exact center of the Venn Diagram. By Dad Internet I mean the sort of self-consciously Good Clean Dad Jokes on Tumblr, the dadbod conversations of yore, the gentle and eternal sorrow of @Coffee_Dad and moments in your book like the “enormous nude dignity” of your own personal dad dad cleaning his guns and playing Cheap Trick upstairs. Dad Internet delights in reassurances and softness and pliability and a certain kind of lovable uselessness.
And you know the Daddy Internet, you remember that joke you made last year or whenever it was that everyone started joking about that lady who wanted to preserve Daddy Culture, and Daddy Internet delights in making everyone tremendously uncomfortable and being just as full of self-consciously Unclean Daddy Jokes as its counterpart. Am I completely making this up? Does this make any sense? If we plotted a Dad v. Daddy chart what quadrant does Priestdaddy fall in?
- Here are some literary blind items, collected at LitHub; they are all, as the best blind items are, about sex:
“I go out to bars. My god, I’ve barely been to a bar in like fifteen years because I’ve been a little busy reproducing.” She humbly, nicely did not add that she’d been busy becoming a great writer, though she’d been doing that too.
“Do you go by yourself?” Perhaps I was leading the witness a teeny tiny bit.
“I go with friends. Man-type people.” She re-twined her nervous legs.
- Also at LitHub, Lewis Dartnell wonders why aliens would ever bother coming to Earth:
To my mind, then, the enormous amounts of time and energy that are likely to be necessary for traveling between the stars in a galaxy, and the fact that raw materials can be sought elsewhere more practically, would rule out aliens coming to the Earth simply to take something we have. I think we can safely rest assured that even if intelligent alien species do exist in our galaxy, they are not about to appear in our skies with an invasion fleet to subjugate humanity and begin stripping our world.