Last Week's Links

Literary Links

What Do 10 Years of the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller Lists Say about YA?

Because I don’t read a lot of YA literature, I tend not to report on it very often. Here Kelly Jensen, who has been writing about the YA book world for more than 15 years, examines whether the demographics of the genre have shifted over the years. She takes a particular look at the question of diversity.

Categories: Literary Criticism, Literary History, Reading, Writing

Real Romance

Another genre I don’t read much (even less that YA) is romance. In this article from The New Yorker Lauren Collins explains “How Nora Roberts became America’s most popular novelist.”

Categories: Author News, Book News, Publishing

Readers are hungry for stories about trauma. But what happens to the authors?

“A scan of recent Australian memoirs suggests an appetite for stories about pain. But after telling their story, writers have to sell it – and that can come at a cost”

Imogen Dewey focuses on Australian memoirs in this article about the current popularity of books about personal trauma. Once their books are published, authors can often by retraumatized by while working to publicize and sell their stories.

Categories: Memoir, Publishing, Writing

The Creative Sweet Spot of Dreaming

“A recently identified stage of sleep common to narcoleptics is a fertile source of creativity.”

A fascinating portrait of George Church, a Harvard geneticist “known for his pathbreaking contributions to numerous fields—from genetics to astrobiology to biomedicine.” Church has narcolepsy, a condition that causes sudden attacks of sleep. 

“The relationship between sleep, dreaming, and creativity has been the subject of conjecture for hundreds of years.” For years scientists have associated creative inspiration with REM (rapid eye movement), sleep, which “begins about 70 minutes after a person loses consciousness.” But 

“researchers have recently identified another state of mind that lies in the transition between waking and sleeping and may be even more fertile for creative inspiration than REM.” 

Tag: Creativity

The Best Celebrity Memoirs of All Time

“Humor, revelation, and scandal—these books have everything you’re looking for and more.”

With the publication of Prince Harry’s barn-burning new book, Spare, it’s time to take a deep dive into the fecund world of celebrity memoirs. Whether they’re light-hearted collections of essays (Bossypants; Cinema Speculation), dishy tell-alls (You’ll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again; The Vanity Fair Diaries), or searing intimate portraits (Open; Greenlights), these memoirs bring us closer to famous people that are seemingly a different breed.

Categories: Memoir, Publishing, Writing

9 of the Best Book Podcasts for Serious Readers

I don’t listen to podcasts myself. (If I’m going to spend my time listening, it will be to an audiobook.) But I do love lists. So, if you’re a serious reader in search of a podcast to listen to, here you go.

Categories: Audiobooks, Book News, Book Recommendations, Literary Criticism, Reading

What readers hate most in books — from dreams to italics

I’ve recommended a couple of times the Book Club newsletter that Ron Charles produces every Friday for The Washington Post. Recently he asked readers “to describe the things that most annoy them in books.” This article compiles the responses, which he calls “a tsunami of bile.”

See how many of your pet peeves made the list.

Categories: Literary Criticism, Reading

Henry Louis Gates Jr. on What Makes a “Classic” African American Text

“They reveal the human universal through the African American particular: All true art, all classics, do this.”

This article is an excerpt from the “Introduction” to The Portable Anna Julia Cooper, edited by Shirley Moody-Turner for the Penguin Portable Classics series. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explains how he went about choosing the titles by African American and African authors to expand the literary canon as represented by this historic literary series:

Thinking about the titles appropriate for inclusion in these series led me, inevitably, to think about what, for me, constitutes a “classic.” And thinking about this led me, in turn, to the wealth of reflections on what defines a work of literature or philosophy somehow speaking to the human condition beyond time and place, a work somehow endlessly compelling, generation upon generation, a work whose author we don’t have to look like to identify with, to feel at one with, as we find ourselves trans­ported through the magic of a textual time machine; a work that refracts the image of ourselves that we project onto it, regardless of our ethnicity, our gender, our time, our place.

Categories: Literary Criticism, Literary History, Publishing

5 Takes on a Reading Journal

Keeping a reading journal is a frequent discussion topic of discussion among readers and book bloggers. Here Isabelle Popp discusses “five takes on book journaling, modeled as personality types.” If you’re interested in starting a book journal habit, she suggests that you first “do some deep thinking about what you want to get out of book journaling.” Then, consult her list of approaches to “see what vibes with you.” It’s likely, she adds, that you’ll combine two or more of these models.

Category: Reading

© 2023 by Mary Daniels Brown

Discover more from Notes in the Margin

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top