If you were stuck in 23-hour daily lockdown in a federal prison, you might think a book would be a most welcome companion. You might think it would take a lot to make you despise that book. But Barrett Brown begs: “Stop sending me Jonathan Franzen novels.” (The Intercept)

Imagine Gregor Samsa from The Metamorphosis. If you read it in English, you may see a cockroach or a giant beetle, but that may not be as Kafka intended. And Vladimir Nabokov didn’t care. (Open Culture)

While Pixar’s shiny, cartoonish animation style has an avid fan base, old-style hand animation has a charm that just can’t be replicated without hours of frame-by-frame work — until now. Microsoft has just unveiled a new tool that simplifies and digitizes the process, and it’s mesmerizing to watch. (Wired)

Maren Larsen is the associate editor of The Smart Set. She is a digital journalism student, college radio DJ, and outdoor enthusiast.


“Can we take a picture of the bunnies on the way out?” I look where Kris is pointing, and sure enough, there are bunnies. Two of them, not real ones but painted ply-board cutouts, smartly dressed in painted sweater jackets with painted buttons. They stand on their hind legs and peer primly over painted ply-board eggs. One of the eggs is cracked and a painted yellow chick bursts free, raising tiny yellow wings in jubilation.  Behind the chick are iron gates and a sign: Louisiana State Penitentiary. It is five days before Easter, 2008.


“Sure,” I say. Kris is on spring break from graduate school, and because it’s me she’s visiting — the woman who wooed her right before packing the heck up and moving here to Louisiana — Kris is spending part of it at a prison…. More…