"My siblings and I were voracious readers as kids: Between Hans Christian Andersen and every last installment of Amelia Bedelia, my parents couldn’t keep enough books on our shelves. If only we’d had the Infinite Adventure Machine. Developed as a spec project for Microsoft, it’s a computer program that generates crude outlines for—you guessed it—an infinite number of children’s stories. The only catch: You have to fill in the blanks. The program’s by London designer David Benqué, and it’s based on the research of Vladimir Propp, a Russian scholar who reduced the structure of Russian folk tales to 31 “narratemes”—basic narrative elements (like trickery, complicity, and villainy). The Infinite Adventure Machine works by randomly aggregating those 31 elements, according to a few simple rules, to create a synopsis. The synopsis is then spread over the virtual pages of a storybook. Each page gives you a rudimentary plot point (“departure of elders”) alongside a spare illustration (an empty house). Your job is to mine the depths of your imagination to round out the tale with details (“This story starts with two lovely parents who want to leave their child alone in their cold, dark shack”)."
"Seven stories published by Theodor Geisel five decades ago will find their way to readers in a new book coming from Random House. “The Bippolo Seed” is coming to shelves Sept. 27… It will be the first time the seven stories in “The Bippolo Seed” have appeared in a book. Or as Dr. Seuss might say: One story, two story, old story, new story."
"I hope you are not here because you like to read.” It was the opening salvo for my interview with the admissions director at the University of Maryland’s Graduate School of Library & Information Services. I don’t remember what, or if, I countered. It was 1967. Answer or no answer I was admitted, matriculated, and graduated. After a long library career, I am now retired and a recent volunteer at NYPL. The admissions director is long gone, but I would like to reply. “I love to read. Did then, still do. And I love to know what people are reading."