Last Week's Links

Literary Links

The dawn of AI has come, and its implications for education couldn’t be more significant

The anxiety and questions about AI-generated writing continue: “t’s safe to say we can expect some challenging years ahead.”

Vitomir Kovanovic, Senior Lecturer in Learning Analytics at the University of South Australia, speculates.

Category: Writing

Women Talking Embraces the Drama of Difficult Conversations

“Sarah Polley’s film rejects the demand the world makes of rape victims: that their stories be polished and flawless”

Jennifer Wilson discusses Sarah Polley’s film based on Miriam Toews’s 2018 novel of the same title.

Above all, Women Talking is a formalist project. At a time when telling women’s stories has devolved into a marketing catchphrase (usually for the next Reese Witherspoon vehicle), Polley’s film refocuses our attention on questions of structure, on how women’s stories are expected to be told and the genre expectations that have been imposed on victims’ testimonies. The conversations in this film are not perfect. As the women talk, they cut one another off, squabble over semantics, and lose their train of thought. We worry the sun will set before they decide what to do, forgetting that to speak freely and wildly was itself a course of action.

Categories: Life Stories in Literature, Film, Literature & Culture

Guess who? Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Sophie Hannah and other crime writers reveal their favourite detectives

From The Guardian: “At the end of a year when murder mysteries rode high in the charts, we ask crime writers to celebrate the best fictional detectives.”

Category: Book Recommendations

Where My Characters Come From

Haruki Murakami answers one of the questions novelists are most frequently asked:

I’m often asked if any characters in my novels are based on real people. On the whole, the answer is no. I’ve written a lot of novels, but only two or three times have I intentionally, from the start, had a real person in mind when I created a character (in each case a secondary one). When I did, I was a bit nervous that a reader might detect that the character was modeled on somebody—especially if the person who did was the one the character was based on. But fortunately no one has ever caught me out, not even once. I might model a character on a real person, but I always carefully and diligently rework the character so people won’t recognize the original. Probably the person himself doesn’t either.

Categories: Fiction, Writing

Occupational Hazards of the Second-Hand Book Trade

An excerpt from Remainders of the Day: A Bookshop Diary by Shaun Bythell:

Buying and selling books prior to the advent of the internet was a matter of judgement based on experience and a pile of old auction catalogues and records. Now—if anything out of the ordinary falls into my hands—I tend to go straight online to see what other people are selling it for and base my price on that.

Category: Bookstores

10 Wickedly Good Books Examining the Nature of Evil

Here in the northern hemisphere, this is the darkest time of the year.

sometimes you’re looking for a story that takes a hard look at the darkest parts of the human spirit, the unrelenting and unforgiving cruelty that people sometimes wield against each other. So, if you’re looking for a dark read that matches these darker days of winter, or you’re just trying to push your literary boundaries, here are ten thrilling, chilling, and sleep-killing novels exploring the nature of evil.

Categories: Book Recommendations, Literature & Psychology

Legally bookish: Reese Witherspoon and the boom in celebrity book clubs

Elle Hunt comments on the proliferation of celebrity book clubs:

Today, more than 25 years since Oprah Winfrey launched hers, everyone is leading their own community of readers, from the Queen Consort to rapper Noname, from former NFL quarterback Andrew Luck to singer Amerie, from ex-vampire slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar to late-night host Jimmy Fallon.

According to Hunt, Reese Witherspoon “has actually overtaken Winfrey as publishing’s starriest powerbroker, having turned good taste in books into one arm of a media empire.”

Category: Book Groups, Publishing, Reading

On NBC’s ‘Today,’ Jenna Bush Hager is becoming book publishing’s best friend

Another celebrity who has built herself into a book group megastar and media mogul is Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush. Stephen Battaglio writes about her career in this piece for the Los Angeles Times.

Category: Book Groups, Publishing, Reading

The Murky Path To Becoming a New York Times Best Seller

“Publishing insiders tell Esquire why they find “the list” so frustrating—turns out, it’s a data project full of contradictions.”

“No one outside The New York Times knows exactly how its best sellers are calculated—and the list of theories is longer than the actual list of best sellers,” writes Sophie Vershbow in this piece from Esquire.

Categories: Book Recommendations, Publishing

Vivek Shraya Proves Kids’ Books Can Help Us Explore Messy Truths

Revenge of the Raccoons flips the narrative about the much-despised pests. But it’s also a story for grown-ups”

Angela Misri, assistant professor at Toronto Metropolitan University’s school of journalism, writes in The Walrus, a Canadian publication:

As a fiction author who has written several books on the experience of being an outsider, including one starring a raccoon, I recognized Vivek Shraya’s protagonists in Revenge of the Raccoons as kindred spirits right away. The children’s book, published in October, captures Shraya’s fascination for the creatures as well as their complicated relationship with humans. Set in Toronto, it’s a story about neighbours, outsiders, and fences, about who belongs and who was here first.

Categories: Fiction, Life Stories in Literature

The New Seniors of Crime Fiction, on Page and Screen

“These older sleuths and killers prove that crimes (in stories) keep a heart young.”

Alexis Gunderson says she knows how to spot a trend when she sees one:

while the elderly in general — and older women, more specifically — have a long legacy as superior amateur sleuths in crime and detective fiction, there’s no denying that there has been a boom in contemporary takes on the Miss Marple model in the last few years, both on the page and on the small screen.

Categories: Life Stories in Literature, Older Adults in Literature

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

3 thoughts on “Literary Links”

  1. The scariest thing about the negative implications AI has for teaching college writing is that writing is a process of discovery to discover new insights. The damage rampant online plagiarism and cheating have done is bad enough.

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      I couldn’t agree more, Liz. Every time I see an article about this, I thank my lucky stars that I’m no longer teaching Eng Comp.

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