"Distracted Reading" is a course inspired by the ubiquitous claims that reading is "at risk" and that long-form narrative can no longer hold our attention. Its purpose is to consider the various transformations in our reading and writing practices, from iOS poetry apps to machine-assisted text analysis, and especially to consider the place of close reading in a media ecology that encourages skimming, browsing, and scanning. As part of our investigations, we read Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves and excerpts of Only Revolutions, the former a novel that rewards (even requires) intensive semiotic analysis and the latter a novel that particularly lends itself to data-mining techniques. Thanks to CLS, Danielewski was able to spend some time with students following his reading and book signing in Jurow on October 18th discussing general questions about the futures of the book, literary production, and publishing.

--Prof. Rita Raley (ENGL-UA 252.001 Distracted Reading)


Please read CLS Fellow Mehak Khan's thoughts on the event at our tumblr, re/post.


Mark Z. Danielewski is the author of House of Leaves, The Whalestoe Letters, Only Revolutions, and The Fifty Year Sword. (Photo credit: Lindsey Best)