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Literary Links

Home and Away: Horror & Gothic Fiction 2022

Among this season’s horror releases, twinned themes emerge. On one side, the oppressive atmosphere of a childhood home and the secrets it holds; on the other, the ambiguity of liminal spaces and the unease of isolation. PW spoke with editors about the fear of the unknown, whether it’s a mysterious box in the attic or a disturbing noise over a distant hill.

Categories: Literature & Psychology, Reading

10 Books About Chance Encounters with Strangers

Colleen Kinder, editor of Letter to a Stranger, compiles stories of “strangers who throw everything into a tizzy, who act as surrogates, who unearth beauty, who enable epic journeys, and more.” Kinder says such stories remind her “of the simple truth that strangers embody possibility.”

Perhaps that’s why life-altering experiences resulting from a chance crossing of live paths is such a prominent theme in the study of Life Stories in Literature.

Category: Life Stories in Literature

Large majorities of voters oppose book bans and have confidence in libraries

The American Library Association reports on results of a survey indicating “that seven in 10 voters oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries, including majorities of voters across party lines.”

Category: Censorship

How a Secret Becomes a Story: Melissa Fu on the Importance of Listening to Elders

Book cover: Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

This is a fascinating picture of how a life story can become a novel. For the first 26 years of her life, Melissa Fu’s father had refused to talk about his youth in China and Taiwan. Then, one day, he suddenly began talking about his past to Melissa and her brother. She struggled to take notes as he talked, afraid to interrupt for fear of breaking the spell.

How does a secret evolve into a story? And when do you tell a story? Is it when you think it’s safe enough? When there is no longer any need to protect someone or something? Can the passage of years make the telling a celebration instead of a betrayal?

For years she did research and wondered how best to tell her father’s story. Read about her journey of turning that story into her first novel, Peach Blossom Spring.

Categories: Life Stories in Literature, Fiction, Writing

She May Have Died in 1999, but Iris Murdoch Is the Perfect Novelist for Our Time

“Her absolute refusal to judge her characters is an antidote to contemporary literary certainty.”

Isaac Butler writes of the works of Iris Murdoch: “her provocative, singular, strange, and beautifully constructed books do cast a kind of spell, one that can help us recover a little bit of our souls at the exact moment it feels like everything around us is conspiring to render us numb.”

Categories: Author News, Literary History, Literary Criticism

Expanding Horizons

“Science fiction can help predict the future—whether it will be utopian interplanetary communities or ruthless colonial societies. As humans look toward building new worlds in space, a question looms: Will we drag our problems with us?”

You’ve probably heard the statement “Science fiction isn’t about the future. It’s about the present.” In this thought-provoking article, Kendra Pierre-Louis discusses the push by “space billionaires” such as Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk to explore space for the resources it may offer us.

Pierre-Louis explores the question of space exploration through the lens of The Expanse, a space drama based on several novels by James S.A. Corey that Amazon Prime Video has made into a popular series. She writes: 

The same technologies that enable our forays into space don’t eliminate social inequalities like hunger, homelessness, and racism. They only deepen these problems.

Categories: Story, Writing

How fairy tales shape fighting spirit: Ukraine’s children hear bedtime stories of underdog heroes, while Russian children hear tales of magical success

Two scholars from Georgia State University—Mia Bloom, a cyber security expert, and Sophia Moskalenko, a research fellow in social psychology—look at how Ukraine has fared better than political experts’ predicted in their effort “to resist an opponent superior in number, equipment and positioning.”

We believe that one factor underlying the unexpected performance of each country’s military can be traced to the cultural differences between Russians and Ukrainians. Those differences were cultivated in part through the fairy tales of their childhoods.

Categories: Literature & Psychology, Story, Writing

BookLife Indie Author Forum Highlights

Publishers Weekly reports on a virtual event, held in March 2022, that focused on the world of self-publishing. Several authors who have successfully self-published books offer advice and encouragement for other writers considering this route to publication. 

Categories: Publishing, Writing

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

3 thoughts on “Literary Links”

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Isn’t it fascinating how something as seemingly trivial as children’s stories can shape an entire culture?

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