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Discover the Top Edgar® Award-Winning Mysteries of 2024

One of the flagship productions of PBS (public broadcasting in the U.S.) is MASTERPIECE Mystery! It’s therefore not surprising that PBS recommends that we consider adding to our summer reading lists the books that won this year’s Edgar Awards

American Writers Festival Ultimate Reading List

Next Sunday, May 19, 2024, the American Writers Museum will host its annual American Writers Festival in Chicago, Illinois. More than 60 writers from all over the U.S. will be on hand for “in depth conversations.” Here’s a list of the most recent books by participating authors.

If you’re in the greater Chicago area next weekend, think about buying a book and getting it signed by the author at the festival. This page includes a link to the full Festival schedule.

More than a quarter of readers of YA are over the age of 28 research shows

“Report commissioned by HarperCollins shows that uptake in YA fiction in older readers is due to behavioural changes described as ‘emerging adulthood’ or delaying ‘adult’ life”

The Guardian reports on a study of readers in the U.K. Since 2019, the report says, “a growing number of adult readers have been reading YA fiction.”

The research suggests this is due to behavioural changes described as “emerging adulthood”: young people growing up more slowly and delaying “adult” life. The feelings of instability and “in-betweenness” this can cause has led to young adults seeking solace in young adult fiction – and for some these books remain a source of comfort as they grow older.

Inside the Literary Travel Boom

“Book butlers! Curated libraries! Custom cruises! Literary-themed vacations are the hot new trend in tourism.”

Adrienne Westenfeld attributes the boom in literary-themed travel to the COVID-19 pandemic: “Reading surged in the early days of Covid, and the habit stuck as lockdowns eased.”

But, Westenfeld cautions, “Literary travel isn’t ‘one size fits all.’” If you’re interested in combining your literary likes or aspirations with your next vacation, she has suggestions based on what type of reader you are.

Would Limitlessness Make Us Better Writers?

“AI embodies hypotheticals I can only imagine for myself. But I believe human impediments are what lead us to create meaningful art.”

Novelist Rachel Khong takes on the threat that AI may replace human writers: “Considering limitlessness has led me to believe that the impediments of human writers are what lead us to create meaningful art.”

I find it comforting to think that our human imperfections may be the very things that prevents machines from replacing us.

AI and the End of the Human Writer

“If a computer can write like a person, what does that say about the nature of our own creativity?”

In a related article, Samanth Subramanian considers the nature of human creativity, analyzes how large language models (LLMS) fuel artificial intelligence (AI) machines, and discusses the differences in language acquisition between machines and people. He uses these two books in his discussion:

  • Who Wrote This?: How AI and the Lure of efficiency Threaten Human Writing by Naomi S. Baron
  • Literary Theory for Robots by Dennis Yi Tenen

The power of touch is vital for both reading and writing

Naomi S. Baron, the author of the first book cited in the article above, is professor emerita of linguistics at American University. She describes herself here as “a linguist who investigates the differences between print and digital reading and how writing supports thinking.” She and a colleague asked 500 secondary students at an international school in Amsterdam about “their experiences when reading print versus digital texts.” In addition she surveyed 100 university students and young adults in the U.S. and Europe about “their likes and dislikes about handwriting versus typing.”

Together, their responses demonstrate that adolescents and young adults continue to value touch in their encounters with the written word. The research offers important lessons for educators and parents.

Why We Love Time Travel Stories

“Time is an instrument of power, an object of faith, and an influence on our history. But in our fictions, it’s more than just a cerebral quagmire—it gets at our unanswerable questions and our deepest longings.”

Jonathan Russell Clark goes on a philosophical journey through the ways in which writers have used the concept of time travel to explore human experience. He proposes that we try to see “the grand Aristotielian triad—was, is, will be—not as three discrete entities, but one fluid, fluxing plane that bends and breaks and folds and crumples and stretches and rips and whatever else. . . . so that we might, in some way, learn from the future as well as the past.”

The Book You’re Reading Might Be Wrong

“Most nonfiction isn’t fact-checked. The Kristi Noem saga could change that—but it probably won’t.”

“Book publishers don’t employ fact-checking teams, and they don’t require a full fact-check before publication. Instead, a book is usually reviewed only by editors and copy editors—people who shape the story’s structure, word choice, and grammar,” writes Elaine Godfrey. Even the Kristi Noem episode “probably won’t” change anything in the publishing industry, she says, and cautions: “For now, people should think critically about everything they read.”

© 2024 by Mary Daniels Brown

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