Litblog Roundup is a bi-weekly overview of topics, trends and highlights from the literary Internet. In this roundup: more rediscovered stories, interesting marginalia, broken typewriters and more.
The Last of the Typewriter Men
If you have a laptop that quits working, you can take it to one of the many computer repair shops all over the country to have it repaired — for a while, until it becomes obsolete in just a few years. If you have a typewriter and it’s a good one, it should last 100 years or so, but where can you take it for repair? Typewriter repair is a dying art. Medium has an insightful story about how it’s done called The Last of the Typewriter Men.
Writing Instructor Rants
A few days ago Ryan Boudinot’s published “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One.” It includes a few incendiary remarks. For example: “if you didn’t decide to take writing seriously by the time you were a teenager, you’re probably not going to make it.” In addition to the original post’s 90+ comments, rebuttal posts are popping up on The Digital Reader and terribleminds.
New Sherlock Holmes
There’s a recently rediscovered short story about Sherlock Holmes that may have been written by Arthur Conan Doyle, or maybe not. With so many (re)discovered manuscripts already this year, it seems to be a trend. They’ve even unearthed a new Dr. Seuss book.
If you like to write notes, jokes, or insults into the margins of the books you read, you may be interested to know that you’re part of a centuries-long tradition. With recent commentary by the New York Review of Books, there is a new exhibition at the New York Society Library “explores the practice of reading through the many handwritten notes left in the margins of books”
This exhibition is among the first of its kind to focus explicitly on annotated books. As evidenced by recent pieces in the New York Times and the New Yorker, interest in annotations has grown substantially in recent years. Digital projects to track readers’ responses to texts, such as Annotated Books Online, Book Traces, and The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe, have all drawn attention to the ways that annotations assist scholars in their efforts to better understand the reading practices of the past.
Digital Natives’ Print Preferences
Speaking of printed books, a recent study suggests that college students prefer to read textbooks in print, as opposed to reading them electronically. Some responses to this finding have pointed out that this preference have more to do with resale value than with media preferences.