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Literary Links

Atoms as They Fall Upon the Mind

This article from The Point magazine extols James Joyce’s Ulysses as an example of the experimental literary technique of stream of consciousness: “When in prose carefully structured to imitate the patterns of the mind these aspects of consciousness reveal themselves to us as they do in life, through a slow unfurling, we realize that what we’re reading has the rhythm not of a story but of experience itself—somebody else’s experience, normally so mysterious.”

But, writes John Michael Colón, “one can’t help but notice the lack of such techniques in much contemporary American fiction.” He invites us to open the magazine and read extracts from two novels “very difficult to find in the U.S.” that suggest answers to the questions “What does the stream of our consciousness feel like today, and what kind of novel could capture it?”

Categories: Fiction, Literary Criticism, Literary History, Writing

AI writing is here, and it’s worryingly good. Can writers and academia adapt?

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has made incredible strides in its ability to generate human-like text. As a result, AI writing is becoming increasingly commonplace, with businesses and organisations using it to create everything from marketing copy to financial reports.

I’ve been seeing a lot of references recently to how AI (artificial intelligence) has been greatly polishing its writing skills. Luke Hurst here discusses the clear threat that it poses to “the livelihood of professional writers.”

Category: Writing

Children’s Fairy Tales and Feminine Beauty

“Fairy tales, many of which associate women’s beauty with goodness, act as scripts that pass along specific messages about women’s bodies and attractiveness.”

Women’s Studies professor Lori Baker-Sperry and Sociology professor Liz Grauerholz examine the prevalence of “the feminine beauty ideal” in fairy tales. They call such tales “gendered scripts [that] serve to legitimize and support the dominant gender system.” 

In other words, these tales function to teach women how society expects—indeed, desires—them to behave.

Category: Life Stories in Literature

Meet the longtime librarian being honored at the National Book Awards

NPR’s Scott Simon interviews Tracie D. Hall, head of the American Library Association, who received a lifetime achievement award at the National Book Awards earlier this month.

Category: Libraries

Hooray for ‘hybrid’ books: mixing genres to tell better tales

Barbara Lane, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, extols Jo Ann Beard’s genre-bending collection Festival Days, a “collection of seamlessly blended fact, fiction and memoir that probably gives booksellers fits trying to decide which shelf to place it on.”

Categories: Literary Criticism, Writing 

Inspirational passion or paid-for promotion: can BookTok be taken on face value?

“TikTok’s book reviewing community is here to stay, having even received publishing awards for innovation, but issues of authenticity and safety abound”

I don’t use TikTok myself, but its literature-related community, known as BookTok, continues to generate a lot of discussion. “Meanwhile, as publishers make deals with both TikTok and its creators, many BookTok users feel as if their ‘safe’ space is becoming too industry-led.”

Ismene Ormonde discusses in The Guardian the implications of BookTok’s growing entanglement with the writing community and the publishing industry.

Categories: Publishing, Writing

8 Books About the Reality of Living with Chronic Illness

“Emma Bolden, author of ‘The Tiger and the Cage,’ recommends literature about the body, survival, and enduring pain”

Emma Bolden writes, “It’s impossible to create a cohesive linear narrative out of chronic illness. There often isn’t an identifiable starting point, and there is even less often an identifiable stopping point.”

Illness narratives are a frequent aspect of Life Stories in Literature.

Category: Life Stories in Literature

Mariah Fredericks on the Heartbreaking Details of Historical Fiction

“[T]here are ethical obligations involved when writing about a true crime,” writes novelist Mariah Fredericks. Here she discusses some of the considerations she faced when writing her novel The Lindbergh Nanny, which featured Betty Gow, nanny of the kidnapped Lindbergh baby.

Categories: Fiction, Life Stories in Literature, Writing

No, Books Should Not Have Content Ratings Like Movies

When I first saw the title of this article, I thought it was probably about trigger warnings. But no, it about groups that have called for a rating systen for books “similar to the MPAA rating system for movies.”

Categories: Censorship, Reading

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

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