The Reading List: Looking Back at “Living Single,” New York Public Library Launches Instagram Novels, and More

The Reading List: Looking Back at “Living Single,” New York Public Library Launches Instagram Novels, and More

Landmark: On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Fox’s “Living Single,” the Atlantic takes a deep dive into the groundbreaking show’s depiction of young black people and its influence on ensemble sitcoms that followed (see: “Friends,” “Sex and the City,” “Girls,” etc.) with interviews with the show’s creator, Yvette Lee Bowser, as well as cast and crew members. “There had been such a void on television that needed to be filled. It’s interesting because there’s certain aspects of certain characters that we’ve seen — we’ve seen Clair Huxtable, we’ve seen the black lawyer, but she was a mom,” Lee Bowser said. “So we really hadn’t seen [stories about young black people in the city], and I know that they obviously existed in the real world.” The Atlantic

Novel Idea: The New York Public Library launched a new initiative this week called “Insta Novels,” a series of illustrated books that will live on Instagram Stories. The project, produced in partnership with the New York-based advertising and creative agency Mother, uses the swiping action native to the ephemeral platform to replicate the feeling of reading a book. “From the way you turn the pages, to where you rest your thumb while reading, the experience is already unmistakably like reading a paperback novel,” said Mother’s Corinna Falusi in a statement. Curious (and curiouser) book lovers can now check out Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” the first novel of the series, on the NYPL’s Instagram page. artnet News

Silent Sam Toppled: Protestors on the campus of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill brought down a bronze monument of a Confederate soldier dubbed “Silent Sam.” Erected in 1913 after it was proposed by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1908, the controversial statue drew increasing criticism following last year’s Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, N.C. “It was past time for Silent Sam to be moved from a place of honor on the campus of the University of the People,” said North Carolina State Senator Valerie Foushee in a statement. “It is unfortunate that state legislators chose not to hear and pass the bill we filed earlier this year to move the monument to an indoor site where it would stand as an [sic] reminder of the bitter racial struggle that continues to burden our country.” Hyperallergic

This Is a Good Name: In a fitting tribute to surrealist painter René Magritte, city officials in Brussels have approved residents’ request to rename a local street “Ceci n’est pas une rue,” (This is not a street). The new name pays homage to Magritte’s most famous and paradoxical work of art, which depicted a pipe but featured the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” (This is not a pipe) in a delicate cursive scrawl underneath the image. The street’s new moniker is one of many humorous road signs in the Western European city. The Guardian

Bigger Isn’t Better: As the Edinburgh Fringe and numerous other annual festivals that take over the city this month prepare to wrap up, the Guardian weighs in with an editorial on the civic and cultural problems that have cropped up with the ever-expanding offerings presented each August, and the delicate balance that festival organizers and city officials are obligated to maintain in order to foster meaningful encounters with art. The festivals “are caught in the curious trap of endless expansionism: the notion that each year’s ought somehow to be bigger than the last, that increased ticket sales and more visitors are necessarily and unquestioningly to be celebrated.” The Guardian

Going Home Again: Can crime novels help combat the opioid crisis? Julia Keller believes it can. The author returned to her hometown of Huntington to understand and take stock of the epidemic addling the West Virginia enclave. We won’t reveal her discoveries, but suffice it to say the longread is a practical — and at times hopeful — look at what we can do to help states, towns and individuals cope with opioid addiction. CrimeReads

Top Image: A still from Fox's hit sitcom "Living Single." Courtesy of Warner Bros