fireworks: Happy New Year

Literary Links

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first blog post of the year!

Golden-colored balloons: 2023

NaJoWriMo Journal Writing Challenge Starts January 1st

I know a lot of book bloggers are also writers. Many participate in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, every November. Since I don’t write fiction, I’ve always been a little jealous. But, if you write in journals, you can jump into National Journal Writing Month, which begins today!

There’s lots of good information here. I especially recommend this post from 2017: Theme Based Journal Writing.

Categories: Nonfiction, Writing

2023 in books: highlights for the year ahead

The Guardian offers a great list of books forthcoming between January and November, 2023. The list includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Get those pre-orders in now!

Categories: Book Recommendations, Fiction, Nonfiction, Reading

2023 Adaptations to Get Excited About

Courtney Rodgers looks at book adaptations scheduled to hit either the large or the small screen during 2023.

Categories: Film, Television

6 Questions to Help You Shape Your Reading Practice

Now that we’ve finished analyzing our year in reading for 2022, it’s time to start putting together some reading plans or goals for 2023. If reading is more like a spiritual practice than simply a hobby for you, Sarah S. Davis has some thought-provoking questions to help you develop your approach to this year’s reading.

Category: Reading

Wild Worlds: SFF Books by Unexpected Writers

Many authors spend their entire careers writing within the comfort zone of a single genre. But, according to Anne Mai Yee Jansen for BookRiot, science fiction and fantasy have become more mainstream over the past several years, with the result that some authors who don’t normally write in those genres have given them a try. Here Jansen provides a list that’s “a celebration of recent works of SFF written by writers who don’t usually write SFF.” Her list includes writers such as Colson Whitehead, Louise Erdrich, and Nora Roberts.

Categories: Author News, Book News, Publishing, Writing

Improve Your Writing by Keeping a Reading Journal

If you’ve been here for a while, you know I’m a big advocate of keeping a reading journal. This practice, a key component of the slow reading movement, will help you think about  and remember more about what you read. Here are some suggestions for how to set up and how to use a reading journal.

Categories: Reading, Slow Reading, Writing

Young women were the true originators of the Grimms’ Tales

Read about the evolution of the collection of folklore and fairy tales originally published in 1812 as Children’s and Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm: “before the Grimms made significant editorial changes to their material, desire and lust are omnipresent.” 

Furthermore, argues Christine Lehnenis, a novelist and researcher at the University of Manchester in the U.K., the stories probably originated among women rather than men:

Women have been telling tales throughout the ages: to enthral, to speak truth to power, to praise the gods, to comfort themselves, to educate their children and grandchildren, to nurture young minds, for their own pleasure and the pleasure of others. . . . But most of all, they may have been telling these stories to survive in a hostile environment, to save their souls if not their lives in a world built for men.

The function of women in preserving and passing down such stories is one of the underlying aspects of Life Stories in Literature.

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

Life Stories in Literature




we are what we remember

inside vs. outside stories


hidden identities & secrets


creating/controlling one’s own narrative

cultural appropriation

alternate life options

alternative selves

turning points/life decisions

when/how lives intersect

multiple points of view

rewriting history

change your story, change your life

A Statue of Henrietta Lacks Will Replace a Monument to Robert E. Lee

Book cover: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This news story from the New York Times illustrates how the life stories—even the very existence—of marginalized people, particularly women, have been been erased from history:

A life-size bronze statue of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cancer cells were taken without her consent and were used for research that ushered medical discoveries and treatments, will be erected in her hometown, Roanoke, Va., next year in a plaza previously named after the Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the fascinating story of Henrietta Lacks, whose tumor cells have been used in medical education and research since she died of cervical cancer in 1951.

Categories: Life Stories in Literature, Nonfiction

Books Hitting the Public Domain in 2023

Every year, a new batch of books comes into the public domain as their copyright term expires. Once a work is in the public domain, no one owns the copyright and therefore anyone can, well, copy it. 

Annika Barranti Klein’s list of books entering the public domain this year includes The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, and The Big Four by Agatha Christie.

© 2023 by Mary Daniels Brown

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