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Literary Links

The Man Behind the Myth: Should We Question the Hero’s Journey?

Sarah E. Bond and Joel Christensen dispute Joseph Campbell’s well-known theory “which proposed the existence of a singular ‘hero’s journey’ (also known as the Monomyth), as experienced by ancient heroes such as Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey.”

How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare

Scammers and cyberstalkers are increasingly using the Goodreads platform to extort authors with threats of “review bombing” their work–and they are frequently targeting authors from marginalized communities who have spoken out on topics ranging from controversies within the industry to larger social issues on social media.

Time magazine reports on cyber-extortion attacks and review bombings (giving a book hundreds of one-star reviews) that have become commonplace on Goodreads. 

Goodreads has “become a hunting ground for scammers and trolls looking to con smaller authors, take down books with spammed ratings, cyberstalk users or worse.” Goodreads, which is owned by online giant Amazon, could greatly reduce the problem by requiring email verification for opening an account such as the Amazon web site requires for posting reviews, the article says.

15 More Books About Appalachia to Read Instead of Hillbilly Elegy

J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy, which caused a lot of consternation on its publication, is back in the news since Vance’s announcement that he’s running for the U.S. Senate. Here Kendra Winchester, who’s also from Appalachia, offers a list of 15 more “books you should read instead of Hillbilly Elegy.”

Critical Race Theory

Words, and how we use them, are important. Here’s a succinct but salient discussion of the term critical race theory and how it “has joined the ranks of political correctness, cancel culture, and wokeness as a Procrustean epithet that can be made to fit any argument.”

The Spine Collector

“For years, a mysterious figure has been stealing books before their release. Is it espionage? Revenge? Or a complete waste of time?”

Reeves Wiedeman reports on what is indeed a strange story involving the publishing industry.

Travelers Literary Companions

“See a country through the eyes of its own most imaginative writers.” Whereabouts Press offers a selection of collections about many countries and cities.

The Beautifully Skewed Insights of Protagonists with Uncertain Inner Lives

“I admire a character who honestly struggles with emotional and psychological conflicts in difficult moments,” writes Brandon Graham. “That kind of grappling is a true reflection of the human condition.”

His list of illustrative examples includes Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.

I Call Myself a Spinster, But that Doesn’t Mean I’ll Be Single Forever

“The unmarried women of Barbra Pym’s 1950s novels are still teaching me lessons today,” writes Ginny Hogan.

Who’s There?: Every Story Is a Ghost Story

Ghosts may haunt chambers, but they also haunt books; . . . Traditional ghosts animate literature, from the canon to the penny dreadful, including what the Victorian critic Matthew Arnold grandiosely termed the “best which has been thought and said” as well as lurid paperbacks with their garish covers. We’re so obsessed with something seen just beyond the field of vision that vibrates at a frequency that human ears can’t quite detect—from Medieval Danish courts to the Overlook Hotel, Hill House to the bedroom of Ebenezer Scrooge—that we’re perhaps liable to wonder if there is something to ghostly existence. After all, places are haunted, lives are haunted, stories are haunted. Such is the nature of ghosts; we may overlook their presence, their flitting and meandering through the pages of our canonical literature, but they’re there all the same (for a place can be haunted whether you notice that it is or not).

An Ode to the Author’s Note

Kelly Jensen explains why the author’s note at the end of a novel is her favorite part of a book: “The author’s note is like the preamble to a blog recipe: it is the story of the story, an opportunity especially for historically underrepresented groups to put their own voice on the page.”

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

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