Just in case you missed the day’s hottest literary topic. . .
Archive for the ‘Book News’ Category
Here, on the anniversary of its publication, is yet another article about The Feminine Mystique.
I’m excited to hear about this film, based on quite a suspenseful novel. And Colin Firth. . . .
The film is expected to appear in 2014.
A fictional M.D. will not reduce your fever, but she or he might reduce your boredom. That’s because many medical protagonists — whether general practitioners or something else — are quite interesting. They’re often not liberal arts types, but, heck, non-liberal arts types can be compelling characters, too.
Also of interest is seeing how fictional physicians interact with fictional patients, and how these doctors manage their fictional personal lives while working long hours. Plus we can’t help comparing literature’s doctors to our own doctors. Are these made-up medical people as compassionate and dedicated, or as egotistic and mercenary, or as competent or not-so-competent as the real-life medical people we visit?
Read what Dave Astor has to say about doctors in fiction, from Flaubert’s Madame Bovary to John Grisham’s The Client.
It gave us Colin Firth in a clinging, wet shirt and inspired Bridget Jones to sing “I’m Every Woman”. Jane Austen’s “own darling child”, or Pride and Prejudice as it’s known to you and me, is a brand all of its own. It has inspired more spin-offs than almost any other book in history, and has ballooned into a multi-million-pound industry. Pretty impressive, considering it turns 200 years old this month.
As enthusiasts, academics, authors and film-makers across the globe celebrate the bicentenary of the novel’s publication in the next few weeks, experts suggest “cult Austen” is only going to get bigger. Its market, they say – which until now has consisted largely of Britain, the US and Australia – is expanding. China, India and Russia are starting to swot up on all things Austen. Visitors are flocking to visit her home, Chawton in Hampshire, to read the sequels and travel to the locations where adaptations of her works were filmed.
Notes on all kinds of artistic endeavors inspired by Pride and Prejudice.
Researchers at Liverpool University believe that reading classic works of literature, particularly Shakespeare, “had a beneficial effect on the mind, by catching the reader’s attention and triggering moments of self-reflection.”
Using scanners, they monitored the brain activity of volunteers as they read pieces by Shakespeare, Wordsworth, TS Eliot and others. They then “translated” the texts into more “straightforward”, modern language and again monitored the readers’ brains as they read the words. Scans showed that the more “challenging” prose and poetry set off far more electrical activity in the brain than the more pedestrian versions.
Scientists were able to study the brain activity as readers responded to each word and noticed how it “lit up” as they encountered unusual words, surprising phrases or difficult sentence structure. This “lighting up” of the mind lasted longer than the initial electrical spark, shifting the brain to a higher gear and encouraging further reading.
The classics also produced self-appraisal in readers:
The research also found that poetry, in particular, increased activity in the right hemisphere of the brain, an area concerned with “autobiographical memory”, helping the reader to reflect on and reappraise their own experiences in light of what they had read.
One aspect of the research compared the reactions in volunteers’ brains when reading the work of, among others, Wordsworth, Henry Vaughan, John Donne, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Eliot, Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes and when reading paraphrases of the poetic passages. Reading of the original passages
caused a greater degree of brain activity, lighting up not only the left part of the brain concerned with language, but also the right hemisphere that relates to autobiographical memory and emotion.
Activity is this area of the brain suggests that the poetry triggers “reappraisal mechanisms” causing the reader to reflect and rethink their own experiences. “Poetry is not just a matter of style. It is a matter of deep versions of experience that add the emotional and biographical to the cognitive,” said Prof [Philip] Davis [an English professor who worked on the study].
“The next phase of the research is looking at the extent to which poetry can affect psychology and provide therapeutic benefit.”
Freelance writer and photographer Kristina Pino provides a heads-up on some upcoming films. “This list isn’t about the likes of Ender’s Game, Hunger Games, Carrie, The Great Gatsby, The Host, and others. It’s about the ‘little guys.’”
Read why she recommends these films:
- Warm Bodies
- The Reluctant Fundamentalist
- Beautiful Creatures
- I, Frankenstein
Call it the Fifty Shades bump — literally. BabyCenter has released their yearly list of most popular baby names and — shocker! — the Class of 2030 will be seeing a lot more Anastasias and Greys. Wait, Greys? Yes, readers. When bestowing a Fifty Shades-inspired moniker on their child, parents chose not Christian, but Grey. The name saw a 20 percent jump from last year. On the girls’ side of things, Anastasia rose ten percent, while Ana climbed 35 spots.
And for snooty readers who think the book is always better than the movie, Christina Oppold has some news:
Sometimes we take our lives as readers too seriously. Even if we flit between the highbrow and fluffy beach read, it is easy to think of books as somehow being superior to movies. But storytelling is all connected. From the camp fire to the Blue Ray DVD, from stone tablets to digital ink; what thrills the balletomane bores the cinephile. Each new medium follows on the heels of what came before; it breathes new life in to sharing our stories and each is belittled by the supporters of what came before.
We read not for the sake of the book as a physical object but for the stories within that move us. Embrace the story no matter how it was conveyed to you.
Happy New Year! And welcome back.
Jane Sullivan of Australia’s The Age clues us in on books (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) to be published this year.
To add to your March madness:
The ToB is an annual springtime event here at the Morning News, where 16 of the year’s best works of fiction enter a March Madness-style battle royale. Today we’re announcing the judges and final books for the 2013 competition as well as the long list of books from which the contenders were selected.
. . .
If you’re new to the tournament, here’s how it works: Each weekday in March, two works of fiction from 2012 go head to head, with one of our judges deciding—with elaborate explanation—to advance one title into the next bracket. At the end of the month, the winner of the tournament is blessed with the Rooster, our prize named after David Sedaris’s brother (because why not). Along the way, each judge reveals his or her biases and interests, any connections they have to the participating authors, and, most importantly, how they decided between the two books. Then our ToB Chairmen, authors Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner, weigh in with commentary, and finally leave it up to you, the readers, to add your own passionate thoughts and rebukes to the mix.
“Foil” is a literary term to present a character in contrast with another with an aim to project it against a backdrop of opposite traits. The word “foil” was taken from the practice of displaying gems with a backing of foil to project their brilliance. Foil is a literary device to project a character by comparing it with another character similar in some essential traits but contrasting immensely in others. It is usually created to project the protagonist, the main character. The foil may or may not be a major character in a story, but it has something in common with the protagonist, and this diverts the attention of the reader or audience to the protagonist. A foil is like complementary colors which are located on the opposite sides of the color wheel, yet they need one another for their best to come out.
Nobody knows what feminism is any more, but it isn’t just about equal pay and abortion rights. It’s about appreciating femaleness for femaleness’s sake. Wilder was right wing, religious, practically silent as a writer until her 65th year. What pulls these books of hers, unwittingly or not, on to a feminist level derives from her innate rebelliousness, hinted at in the fictional Laura’s moments of indignation, sisterly rivalry and daredevil escapades. Wilder boldly took the American dream and 18th-century individualism to include herself, and wrote without apology about the daily lives of women and girls.
You may never look at these beloved books in quite the same way again.
Or they at least leave Kathleen Parker cold. And here’s her reason:
Paper, because it is real, provides an organic connection to our natural world: The tree from whence the paper came; the sun, water and soil that nourished the tree. By contrast, a digital device is alien, man-made, hard and cold to human flesh.
Are you convinced?
Dr. Suzanne Koven has recommendations for:
works of literature relating to health and medicine published in 2012. This genre is ever-growing, with new memoirs, literary nonfiction, and even novels and poetry collections added each year.
The first-person narrator descends from the ancient storyteller unspooling his tale around the fire for the delight and edification of his people. But on the page, two things transform him. One, we readers can ask “Who is this speaker? Why is he telling us this story, and what isn’t he telling us?” Two, he can go on as long as he wants. The first case invents the so-called Unreliable Narrator, the second gives rise to what I like to call the World Swallower.
Read Oppen Porter’s choices as the best examples of these two types of first-person narrator.
The list reads like a Who’s Who at an exclusive book party: Junot Díaz, Ian McEwan, J. K. Rowling, Zadie Smith and Tom Wolfe.
All are superstar authors who are releasing hugely anticipated books this fall, colliding in one of the most crowded literary traffic jams in recent memory.
Fall is traditionally the biggest season in the book business, the time that publishers reserve for their most high-profile authors. But this year it is especially crammed with writers who are both household names and have not released a book in several years, like the octogenarian Mr. Wolfe, whose last novel, “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” was published in 2004, and Mr. Díaz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which came out in 2007.
Start building your fall reading list now with this list of Publishers Weekly’s picks for the best books scheduled for publication in September, October, and November:
This year’s fall roster is the perfect mix of reader favorites like Dennis Lehane and Richard Russo, and some notable debuts from authors you’ll be hearing a lot more about. We’ve combed through hundreds of books to find our favorites of what’s on tap for the season. There’s a little of everything here, from a book that could just be this generation’s Catch-22, to grand biographies of two very different types of founding fathers, to the return of Peter Rabbit.