stack of books and open notebook. Label: Quotation

Quotation: “Life Matters”

“But reading is actually the opposite of escape. No story can live without the reader’s emotional participation. The writer’s words are but directions to a place within the reader where sadness and joy and grief and curiosity and boredom and hope and despair reside. The words alone are a skeleton; the reader’s felt responses to …

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Last Week's Links

Literary Links

An Innocent Abroad: Joan Didion’s Midlife Crisis Novelist, short story writer, critic and retired English professor Scott Bradfield grew up in California but had difficulty “[l]earning how to write fictions set in California”: California is filled with so many vivid pleasures, smells, textures, and absurdities of human character that it feels difficult, or even impossible, …

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Book Club: Clear your schedule — the National Book Festival starts NOW

This issue of our newsletter is devoted to the Library of Congress National Book Festival, which begins in less than an hour! It all kicks off at 11 a.m. with Michael J. Fox talking about his new memoir, “No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality,” and then U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will …

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Clue Attitude: Agatha Christie in Contemporary Literature and Pop Culture

Hey mystery lovers, check out all these great mentions of the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, in contemporary literature and pop culture! Source: Clue Attitude: Agatha Christie in Contemporary Literature and Pop Culture   Oh dear, I missed Agatha Christie’s birthday, which was yesterday (September 15). So here, with my apologies for being late, is …

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Painted wall mural featuring portraits of People of Color

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Books!

Each year the U.S. celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. The holiday was started by President Lyndon Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and was expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The observation begins on September 15 because that date is the anniversary of independence …

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feature: Life Stories in Literature

Quotation: “characters come to tell me their backstory”

“When I embark on a writing project, my characters come to tell me their backstory. Very little of it—perhaps none—might be referred to in the final draft, but it’s there nonetheless, hiding in the decisions that each character makes, driving their reaction to every event. They tell me, these characters, of past incidents, big and …

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Teacher Pulled From Classroom After Highlighting Inclusive Materials

A third grade teacher was pulled from the classroom after highlighting inclusive and activist literature on social media. Source: Teacher Pulled From Classroom After Highlighting Inclusive Materials   I’m no longer content with burying stories like this in weekly links lists. These types of actions need to be brought to general attention in the same …

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Last Week's Links

Literary Links

Students Protest Book Bans in Pennsylvania School District Last week’s Literary Links included an article about censorship in a Pennsylvania school. Here’s a follow-up: “students have spoken up, demanding that materials by Black and Brown authors be reinstated in the classroom.” Becoming the Thing That Haunts the House: Gothic Fiction and the Fear of Change …

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stack of books and open notebook. Label: Quotation

Quotation: Pat Barker on “The Silence of the Girls”

Pat Barker on Briseis, the main character of the novel The Silence of the Girls, based on the women from Homer’s Iliad: “You can sometimes struggle for months to get the voice of a new character, but Briseis’s voice was there from the beginning, as if she was impatient to make herself heard. If I …

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