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You Are Invisible

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Writing in the New Yorker about the smartphone app Cloak, Mark O’Connell offers a thoroughly beautiful and poetic commentary on the ontology of visibility:

By generating a kind of omnipresence—whereby we are always available, visible, contactable, all of us there all the time—the technologies that mediate our lives also cause us to disappear, to vanish into a fixed position on the timeline or the news feed.

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Gary Shteyngart Won’t Blurb Your Book

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A Gary Shteyngart blurb seemed almost a rite of passage in recent years, with the author of Super Sad True Love Story offering his recommendation to more than one hundred books. But Kirsten Reach reports that the author has retired from the art of book blurbing—and offers some of her favorite Shteyngart blurbs—in a reflection of his career as a blurber:

I’ve got a soft spot for Shteyngart’s blurbs, even if he feels he has saturated the marketplace.

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From True Love to Ambivalence

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Think your love of certain passages will never fade? The New York Times Sunday Book Review argues that perhaps not all passages will withstand the test of time. How much does age change what we love?

If you’re the sort of person who has always marked up your books — written comments in the margins and underlined passages that you particularly like — you will end up, in middle age, owning a lot of books inscribed with the remarks and reactions of a much younger you.

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Exploring San Francisco with Gary Kamiya

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This week, San Francisco’s Hattery will host Gary Kamiya, cofounder of Salon.com and author of Cool, Gray City of Love (2013), an exploration of San Francisco from 49 different perspectives. Kamiya divided San Francisco into a grid during his journey uncovering forgotten history and cultural narratives, and he mixes academic research in alongside personal experiences as a cab driver and urban wanderer:

From the shark-haunted islands 28 miles off its coast, and the teeming tenements of Chinatown; from the dreamlike summit of Russian Hill, and the mad depths of the Tenderloin; from the patrician mansions of Nob Hill, and the windswept dunes of Larsen Peak, Kamiya approaches his subject from many perspectives, uncovering the endless views afforded by the unique natural and cultural melange that makes San Francisco so compelling.

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Notable Los Angeles: 4/21–4/27

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Monday 4/21: Tony Fletcher presents and signs Boy About Town: A Memoir. 7:00 p.m. at Book Soup.

Morley reads from If You’re Reading This, There’s Still Time. 7:30 p.m. at Skylight Books.

Tuesday 4/22: The Write Read presents a night of poetry with Cecilia Wolloch, James Ragan, and Tera Vale Ragan.

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I Cook Because I Love You

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When my grandmother taught me to make banana pancakes, which we did every Wednesday night through much of my childhood, she would counsel “Hold the bowl” as I stirred, which became, in our letters to each other, code for “I love you.”

Might cooking for another person be considered an act of love?

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Notable Chicago: 4/18–4/24

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Friday 4/18: Angie Chuang, Assistant Professor of Journalism at American University School of Communication, reads from and discusses her book The Four Words for Home, documenting a five-year journey comparing a family’s life in Afghanistan to her own family’s struggles in Taiwan.

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The Tale of Two Community Bookstores

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Brooklyn has two independent Community bookstores—Park Slope’s Community Bookstore and Cobble Hill’s The Community Bookstore. John Scioli, owner of the latter, tells MobyLives that he founded the original with his ex-wife before they split. Scioli goes on to talk about life as a bookstore owner:

These days, The Community Bookstore is open when Scioli decides it will be—usually opening its doors in the afternoon and closing around 11pm.

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The Evils of Irony

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At one time, irony served to reveal hypocrisies, but now it simply acknowledges one’s cultural compliance and familiarity with pop trends. The art of irony has lost its vision and its edge. The rebellious posture of the past has been annexed by the very commercialism it sought to defy.

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