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Literary Links

A Literary Guide to Understanding Ukraine, Past and Present

Ukrainians have long-prepared for this moment. Their rich land has been invaded many times before and their people have suffered innumerable losses for generations. The Ukrainian language and culture has nearly been eradicated at multiple points in their long history, and they’ve been fighting an active war for nearly ten years against a Russian president whose intent is erasure. 

Kalani Pickhart read many books “to become a de-facto scholar in Ukrainian history and culture” in preparation for writing her first novel, I Will Die in a Foreign Land. Here she offers a list of the books she used for this preparation. She adds, “There are many lists like this one being shared out there on social media by Ukrainian writers and translators, as well as independent bookstores and booksellers. I encourage interested readers to seek multiple resources.”

Pickhart is “the recipient of research fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Intelligence for Eastern European and Eurasian Studies.”

Categories: Literary History, Book Recommendations

New England Ecstasies

“The transcendentalists thought all human inspiration was divine, all nature a miracle.”

Back in my graduate school in English days, I focused on American literature. One of the topics that most interested me was Transcendentalism, a movement personified by Ralph Waldo Emerson and his small book Nature, published in 1836.

“Heady rascals like Emerson had been seeking a more humane form of belief than what was damply offered in stodgy churches, academies, and political councils—a form of belief that squarely placed divinity in the soul of the individual, where goodness already dwelled,” writes Brenda Wineapple in this article for The New York Review in which she reviews Robert A Gross’s work The Transcendentalists and Their World.

“The transcendentalists . . . were writers who believed that through the word, they could inspire the self, and through the self, the country,” Wineapple writes. Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are the major authors of Transcendentalism whose works are read today.

Categories: Literary History, Literary Criticism

What Is the Literary Ecosystem and Why Does It Matter?

Stacey Megally writes, “There is, as it turns out, a whole system of people and businesses — from the author who had the story idea to the shop that sells the final product — that brings our books to life. It’s what we call the literary ecosystem.”

Here she defines and describes this network of “the interconnected businesses and people that create, publish, distribute, and sell books.”

Categories: Publishing, Writing

Easy wins: better than a warm cup of milk, read for six minutes before bed for good sleep

Maddie Thomas reports on research that suggests reading for six minutes before bed each night can improve sleep and reduce stress in addition to making us better-read people.

Category: Reading

Q&A with Andrew Pettegree, author of ‘The Library: A Fragile History’

“Andrew Pettegree, co-author of “The Library: A Fragile History,” discusses the centuries-long development of libraries as a civic necessity.”

Category: Libraries

Words: Technologies of Power

In the face of censorship efforts in China and here in the United States, Flynn Coleman, international human rights lawyer and author of A Human Algorithm writes:

Words are technologies of power. They are life rafts in the seas of a terrifying, miraculous, complex world. They can be earth-shattering, hilarious, and uncomfortable. Books are the conduit to what Atticus Finch tells us in To Kill A Mockingbird (a frequently banned book) about people: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Category: Censorship

Why I No Longer Read Physical Books

I expected this piece would feature a physical condition that made holding books, especially big, heavy hardcover ones, difficult. But no. Neha Patel explains how her “curling up with a good book” reading habit morphed into 

multitasking by listening to audiobooks during her commute and later during working from home once the pandemic struck.

Categories: Reading, Audiobooks

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

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