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What Fiction Writing Shares With Psychotherapy

“Emily Howes Considers the Similarities Between Two Therapeutic Practices”

I have a curious double professional identity. I am both a novelist and a therapist; both a teller of tales, and a listener to them. I spend my days in my own imagination or settling into the deepest corners of the imaginations of others. People sometimes wonder, usually at literary events, how I manage the two. Am I a novel-writing therapist or a therapy-offering novelist?

Here’s a fascinating look at the interplay between fiction and psychology.

14 Thought-Provoking Books You Haven’t Heard Of

In this recent article Kristina Wright offers a mix of new and old books that may “surprise and captivate you.”

Apocalypse Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Apocalyptic literature has been in the news a lot lately. Or, as Mark Blacklock puts it in this analysis of Everything Must Go: The Stories We Tell About the End of the World by Dorian Lynskey, “Evidently, the time is ripe for a survey of the branch of cultural production concerned with the end of the world.”

Blacklock describes Lynskey’s book as discussions of accounts of historical developments and of artistic responses to those developments. Artistic, or cultural, responses include texts, films, and artworks.

Does Science Fiction Shape the Future?

“Conversations with visionary science fiction authors on the social impact of their work.”

Namir Khaliq interviews “six of today’s foremost science-fiction authors. . . . on how much impact they think science fiction has had, or can have, on society and the future.”

These are the authors: N.K. Jemisin, Andy Weir, Lois McMaster Bujold, David Brin, Cory Doctorow, and Charles Stross.

Sad girl novels: the dubious branding of women’s emotive fiction

“When women write complex characters, filled with desire, anger or self-destructive urges, why are their books touted as ‘sad’ and frivolous – unlike those of inward-looking male authors’?”

“. . . lumping unrelated novels by women together whether their characters lie in bed all day or stay out all night is hardly identifying a coherent literary phenomenon,” writes novelist Phoebe Stuckes, author of Dead Animals. She continues: “Perhaps we aren’t able to identify more complex emotions, in particular those that are unpleasant, like anger, in these novels, because of our increasingly infantilised view of women authors.”

Trump’s America, Seen Through the Eyes of Russell Banks

“In his last book, ‘American Spirits,’ Banks took stories from the news about rural, working-class life and turned them into fables of national despair.”

American novelist Russell Banks died of cancer last year at age 82. In this article in the New Yorker, Casey Cep analyzes Banks’s last book, comprising three long stories, in the context of his long career:

Banks’s narrators are anonymous busybodies and town gossips, nosy neighbors or observers once removed from the action. They try to account for the recent and ancient past, arraying barstool stories, Facebook posts, rumor-mill secrets, and Nextdoor-style scandals alongside folklore and myth, making sense of their lives in ways that illuminate larger aspects of our communal existence, not only class politics and political extremism but all the tumult that characterizes the past eight-going-on-eighty years of American history.

Actress Viola Davis Launches JVL Media

Viola Davis and her husband and producing partner, Julius Tennon, along with Houston-based publisher Lavaille Lavette, are launching JVL Media, a new independent publisher focused on diversity and inclusion,” reports Publishers Weekly. 

The new company’s first publications will include memoirs and fiction, with plans to expand into children’s and young adult books next year. According to the press release, the company’s aim is “to champion and elevate voices that resonate with authenticity and are often overlooked.”

Celebrity Memoirs and the New Age of Capitalizing on Trauma

Savannah Cordova is troubled by the trend of celebrity memoirs over the past couple of years: “past trauma plus painstaking description (emphasis on the pain) seems to be today’s formula for celebrity memoir success.”

But should it be? In my own consumption of these works, I’ve detected not only an eerily similar narrative focus, but also some fairly fraught implications about modern culture, not to mention an alarming message to writers about what it really takes to sell a book. It seems entirely possible that such memoirs may not be serving a net good — and that their prevalence is negatively impacting readers and writers alike.

© 2024 by Mary Daniels Brown

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