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On the End of the Canon Wars This think piece by John Michael Colón examines the question of whether and, if so, how a “liberal education” (which really means study across the humanities) benefits students. Categories: Literary Criticism, Literary History, Literature & Culture, Reading A dinosaur is a story “in science as in fiction, the …

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The Dreariness of Book Club Discussions Novelist and critic Naomi Kanakia, who belongs to two book clubs, uses the context of her book group discussions to examine why we read fiction. The point of novels, she writes, “is that something happened. Something was at stake in this story. Characters made decisions. Those decisions had consequences. …

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How Do the Books We Read Change Our Brains? “Gregory Berns on Measuring the Effects of a Really Good Story” In this article, adapted from his book The Self Delusion: The New Neuroscience of How We Invent—and Reinvent—Our Identities, Emory University psychology professor Gregory Berns describes a neuroimaging experiment he devised to measure whether reading …

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How Literature Depicts the Chinese Cultural Revolution Here’s an engaging article that illustrates one of the major themes of Life Stories in Literature: how dominant—and dominating—societies control the historical narrative and attempt to erase the voices of individuals and marginalized groups. Dee Das writes: When we talk about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, we mostly zoom …

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Home and Away: Horror & Gothic Fiction 2022 Among this season’s horror releases, twinned themes emerge. On one side, the oppressive atmosphere of a childhood home and the secrets it holds; on the other, the ambiguity of liminal spaces and the unease of isolation. PW spoke with editors about the fear of the unknown, whether …

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An In-Depth Guide to Book Sizes Every once in a while I come across a book that isn’t a standard size. That difference may not seem important, but it can make shelving the book difficult if you want to put it in with, say, other books by the same author. Category: Publishing People Are Sharing …

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Making Story Structure Your Own I’ve recently been working on reviews of two Big Books: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (530 pages) To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (704 pages) Big Books contain so much that finding a way into discussing them is often a challenge. For both of these novels I’ve …

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stack of books and open notebook. Label: Quotation

Quotation: “Life Matters”

“But reading is actually the opposite of escape. No story can live without the reader’s emotional participation. The writer’s words are but directions to a place within the reader where sadness and joy and grief and curiosity and boredom and hope and despair reside. The words alone are a skeleton; the reader’s felt responses to …

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Cyberpunk: Everything You Did (and Maybe Didn’t) Want to Know I don’t know about you, but I have trouble keeping up with the terminology used to describe some of the new kinds of literature. Here Caitlin Hobbs explains that the term cyberpunk, which has its roots in science fiction, “didn’t gain traction as a recognized …

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What to read in 2020 based on the books you loved in 2019 If you liked any of the 12 books listed here, Angela Haupt has suggestions about what you might like to read this year. The 12 books from 2019 that she references are: “City of Girls,” by Elizabeth Gilbert “All This Could Be …

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