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Monday reads: Virginia Woolf punk'd the Royal Navy and more

February 6, 2012 |  8:00 am

In 1910, Virginia Woolf and her friends pretended to be "Abyssinian princes" and their British guides, convincing the Royal Navy to give them access to the battleship Dreadnought, flagship of the home fleet. They were given a tour and feted with a band and salute from the crew. "Even Woolf's cousin, one of the naval officers on board the ship, failed to recognise the author," writes the Guardian. Understandable: She was in face paint and a false beard.

In Sunday's paper, David L. Ulin reviewed Nathan Englander's new collection of stories, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank," finding it "accomplished." It's illustrated, in part, in the video above. The magazine Electric Literature took a single sentence from the story "The Reader" and had it animated by Drew Christie (video above).

Art and story intersect on a new blog announced Monday, the Chimerist. It's by Maud Newton and Salon's Laura Miller, two Internet-veteran readers obsessed with both books and their iPads. They'll be exploring the best of storytelling on the iPad, and are inviting screenshots and app codes. Send 'em if you've got 'em.

You won't need a download code to get "Why American Newspapers Gave Away the Future." The longform article examines the issue of newspapers offering online content for free; it's by Richard Tofel, managing editor of ProPublica, and will be available Feb. 8-15 for free for the iPad (irony included). Afterward, it will be available from most e-tailers for $1.99. It's from Now & Then Reader, the latest content creator to jump in the longform sandbox with the likes of the Atavist, Byliner and Grantland.

Like Barnes & Noble, the bookstore chain Books-A-Million will not stock titles from Amazon Publishing, it has told Publishers Weekly. After the demise of Borders, Books-A-Million became the nation's second-largest brick-and-mortar bookstore chain, with more than 200 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia.


Mary Otis, animated [video]

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-- Carolyn Kellogg