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Literary Links

American Library Association’s New Book Censorship Data Released in Advance of Banned Books Week

As you have probably already guessed, the statistics are pretty grim.

Category: Censorship

Series on Historical Fiction from The Atlantic

On the occasion of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, The Atlantic carries a series of feature articles about historical fiction.

In life as it’s lived, there is no obvious plot; the arc of the past is visible only in hindsight. But in historical fiction, the aim is to capture a story, so fidelity to literal facts and timelines is not always the goal.

—from The Atlantic’s email newsletter

Here are the featured articles:

It’s About the Journey: What Road Trips Represent in American Literature

Neha Patel speculates that the trope of the road trip is “what happens when your country doesn’t have a robust rail system.” Nevertheless:

There is something romantic about hitting the open road, a journey that is both physical and emotional. The great thing about a roadtrip compared to any other type of travel is that we don’t always know what’s going to happen on the way. Sort of like the journey of life, no?

Patel admits “An open road is a ridiculously obvious metaphor for a hero on a journey of self-discovery” and uses this metaphor to look at a few books featuring road trips set in the U.S.

Categories: Literary Criticism, Literary History

Just as important as a vacation destination: The books you read there

John Kelly discusses chasing the elusive Grail of finding the right book to read on vacation, with a description of a beautiful bookstore in Porto, Portugal, thrown in.

Categories: Bookstores, Reading

‘Goodnight Moon’: 75 years in the great green room

At the time of its publication in 1947, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown was “both innovative and radical”:

[Brown’s] books were part of a movement of educators who were trying to push away from some other, older models of educating children – other norms or ideas about children as needing a particular type of instruction, needing to be moralized in a particular way.

Categories: Author News, Literary Criticism, Literary History, Reading

How this 34-year-old mom makes 6 figures as a book narrator: ‘I get to work my dream job from home’

Natalie Naudus has narrated audiobooks for nearly 400 titles over the past five years. Here she tells how she landed her dream job.

Categories: Audiobooks, Publishing

Reading 1Q84: The Case for Fiction in a Busy Life

Cover: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Kevin Hartnett writes in The Millions about his experience reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 while raising two young children: “I found that as I read 1Q84 and got deeper into Tengo’s and Aomame’s stories, I stopped questioning the purpose of fiction and instead began to see reading 1Q84 as one of the few necessary things I did all day.”

His discussion of “the way literature provides for the best parts of who we are” reminds me of my own experience Encountering “1Q84” in the Time of COVID-19.

Categories: Fiction, Personal, Reading

Top 10 novels that interrupt time

“Most stories adhere to linear plots, but a select few . . . respin the cogs to unforgettable effect”

I’m fascinated by novels that play with how time passes, particularly in relation to how the fictional characters’ life stories emerge. Here novelist Ross Raison, whose recent novel Hunger includes two story strands, set in different times, that eventually merge, discusses 10 novels that employ a “twisting of the typical change narrative.”

Categories: Fiction, Literary Criticism, Literary History, Writing

What Was the First “YA” Book?

In a recent 6 Degrees of Separation post I included a book by Paul Zindel, whom I described as a writer who wrote realistically about teenagers and their lives “well before the designation young adult literature came into use.”

Not long after that post I came across this article, which designates the book Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly, published in 1942, as the first YA novel. Although some of the content is definitely dated, the book has remained in print since its publication.

Categories: Author News, Literary History, Publishing

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

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