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Literary Links

8 Cozy Books That Will Make You Think

Sharon Van Meter writes: “I have discovered a whole subgenre of books that propose hard-hitting philosophical questions while enveloping readers in a homey, inviting atmosphere. It’s the best of both worlds, a cozy read that will make you think!”

Read her list to discover what books she recommends.

Categories: Book Recommendations, Reading

Let’s Get Rid of the Blobby Book Cover

Miles Klee notes that, “As critics and influencers continue to point out, cover art has in recent years regressed to a sort of algorithmic average: the colorful, crowded blobs.” Here Klee discusses publishing industry forces that are beyond authors’ and even artists’ control: “By (quite literally) blurring a whole group of authors together with bright, often meaningless shapes, the major book publishers hope to maintain a financial consistency through an aesthetic one — playful but inoffensive, Instagram-baity though refined.”

Category: Publishing

The Decline of Progressive Publishing Houses Is a Loss for Everyone

Publishing industry veteran insider Tom Engelhardt argues, “The end of Pantheon and Metropolitan augers a strange and unchallenging world of ideas.”

Categories: Publishing, Writing

How to figure out what you want out of life

“What society expects of you and what you actually want in life can be different things.”

Much of the world’s best literature features characters working toward figuring out what they want out of life; that’s why the search for one’s identity is such a key theme in Life Stories in Literature. Allie Volpe here offers some advice on using “your values and motivations as guides” for your individual sense of identity. Writers and readers might use this same advice to understand fictional characters’ lives as well.

Categories: Life Stories in Literature, Reading, Writing

The Enduring Allure of Choose Your Own Adventure Books

“How a best-selling series gave young readers a new sense of agency.”

“The eighties book craze gave young readers the opportunity to inhabit bolder versions of themselves, or diverging selves that followed many different paths at once.” Leslie Jamison, who teaches at Columbia University, recounts the history and effects of this series of books.

Categories: Life Stories in Literature, Literary Criticism, Literary History, Literature & Psychology

The big idea: do we all experience the world in the same way?

Anil Seth is professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex and the author of Being You—A New Science of Consciousness. Here he explains how and why “it’s likely that our inner experiences differ”:

It may seem as though the world just pours itself directly into our minds through the transparent windows of our eyes and our ears. But psychologists have long known that perception is not simply a “read out” of sensory information. We are strongly influenced by context. From the effect of shadows on how we perceive the brightness of a surface, to our tendency to interpret facial expressions depending on what we think is happening, context permeates all our conscious experiences, and it does so in a way that we are typically never aware of.

If you’ve ever wondered why different people remember the same event quite differently, here’s your answer. This psychology explains why the use of multiple points of view in fiction has become so prevalent.

Categories: Life Stories in Literature, Literature & Psychology, Reading, Writing

I Didn’t Know My Mind Was So Strange Until I Started Listening to It

In this fascinating article, science writer Phil Jaekl, who has an academic background in cognitive neuroscience, discusses his participation in an academic study designed to answer the question: “How, exactly, do we experience our own mental life?”

Like the article above, this discussion can help us better understand both ourselves and fictional characters we write or read about.

Categories: Literature & Psychology, Reading, Writing

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

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