Reading Roundup: July 31, 2013

Lucky Luke

Here are some interesting links I’ve lassoed for you over the past week or so:

UT-Austin’s Harry Ransom Center has acquired the McSweeney’s archive

John Graves, author of Texas classic Goodbye to a River—about the dammings of the Brazos (I used to live next to the product of one of them, Lake Whitney)—has passed away.

The Paris Review interviews Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell: ”My parents discovered they could shut me up for hours by mounting a large piece of cartridge paper on a drawing board—beautiful quality paper, a big beautiful snowy expanse—and leave me to draw, and name, maps of imaginary archipelagos and continents. Those maps, I think, were my protonovels. I was reading Tolkien, and it was the maps as much as the text that floated my boat. What was happening behind these mountains where Frodo and company never went? What about the town along the edge of the sea? What kind of people lived there? The empty spaces required me to turn anthropologist-creator.”

Crank up the Lee Greenwood!: Missouri judge fires 34-year court employee for providing document that helped free innocent man.

On second thought, this actually does make me “proud to be an American”: Protesters occupying the Florida Capitol in memory of Trayvon Martin want to change school policies that disproportionately suspend black students and often end in arrest.

Then again, on third thought: Salon‘s “8 appalling ways America leads the world”. (“Number one in obesity, guns, prisoners, anxiety, and more!”)

Atlas Obscura explores a beautiful Bay Area island ghost town.

A Visual History of the Evolution of the Penguin Paperback from The New Republic.

Nobody wants to go to malls anymore, even teenagers. They’re turning the mall near my house into a branch of Austin Community College. Progress!

Food guru Mark Bittman calls the bluff of should-I-feel-guilty-for-eating-quinoa liberals. “Well-intentioned people often ask me what they can do to help improve our food system. Here’s an easy one: When you see that picket line next week, don’t cross it. In fact, join it.”

Photos of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec defecating on the beach.

Patricia Lockwood’s excellent, harrowing, sad, and bitterly funny poem,  ”Rape Joke”.

Sports!: An exciting, Gold Cup–winning summer for the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team.

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