Categories
Author News Book Recommendations Last Week's Links Literary Criticism Publishing Television

Literary Links

On the Books: How to Keep Track of New Releases

I have a list of every book that I’ve read since July 1991. I started keeping it on my very first computer, an IBM PCjr. Over the years I’ve managed to maintain the list through several computer and computer program changes, including the biggest computer move I ever made: the jump from Windows/PCs to Mac.

But one thing I’ve never been able to track effectively is upcoming releases I definitely want to read. Here, prolific reader Liberty Hardy offers several suggestions on how to do this.

“The Leftovers” Is Teaching Me Who I Want to Be After Covid

Extrovert Michael Colbert explains how the HBO adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel The Leftovers is helping him learn to live with life after COVID:

The Leftovers portrays all the ways this return is abnormal, messy. The show’s outlook is somewhat pessimistic: maybe we’ll never go back to the way we were. Yet I find comfort in Mapleton, watching people muddle through their new normal.

Philip Roth, Blake Bailey and publishing in the post-#MeToo era

“WW Norton withdrew Bailey’s Roth biography after a series of allegations about its author. As generational conflict rages in the book world and across culture, we ask: who decides whether we can separate the art from the artist?”

Yes, this is yet another installment of the publishing story that won’t go away. But this question of separating the artist from the art is one that has nagged at me since long before the Philip Roth biography brouhaha. 

W.W. Norton, the U.S. publisher of the Bailey biography of Roth, withdrew the book shortly after publication and announced that it would pulp the remaining copies. Vintage, the book’s U.K. publisher, announced that it would not withdraw the book but would continue “assessing the situation closely.” Here’s how The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper, assesses the situation:

What’s clear from the silence is that withdrawing the book, and also not withdrawing it, are hugely sensitive issues. They plug into a range of contemporary debates about censorship, moral responsibility, freedom of expression, corporate governance, social justice, due process, workplace safety, and the ongoing critique of so-called toxic masculinity, among others.

But my question goes back to way before all these social and moral issues. I came of age, literarily speaking, back in the 1970s, when New Criticism was still the dominant force in academic literary study. The bedrock of New Criticism is that a literary work stands on its own, completely dissociated from its creator. The meaning of the work comes only from what the work itself contains, not what the author personally believes, feels, or espouses outside that particular piece of created work. This approach therefore forestalls any criticism of the book because of the personality or morality of its author, although discussion of themes such as misogyny in the work are possible with explanation and textual support.

I guess there are really two theoretical levels of evaluation going on here. The first level involves evaluation of and reaction to Roth’s fiction itself. On this level New Criticism is very clear: You can look for evidence of misogyny in the novels themselves, but you can’t condemn the novels because you’ve read that the author treats women badly. But we reach a second level when we evaluate the merits of a biography written about a public figure, such as an author like Philip Roth. While it’s certainly up to critics to point out if a biographer has not created a complete picture of the subject, I’m not sure that criticism of a published biography warrants an end to publication and the destruction of all remaining copies.

Or maybe it’s true that there really is no such thing as bad publicity?

Life in the Stacks: A Love Letter to Browsing

However, I take no issue with Jason Guriel’s lamentation of how much he misses old-fashioned browsing of media content, both in those long-gone video houses called Blockbuster and, more recently, bookstores and even libraries shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Writers to Watch Fall 2021

Here’s a heads-up call from Publishers Weekly: “Explorations of class, race, and sexuality play into many of this fall’s notable fiction debuts, including a novel about a young Black woman working in financial services, a South Korean gay romance, and more.”

Rivka Galchen on the Particular Horrors of Actual Witch Hunts

Carianne King talks with Rivka Galchen, whose latest novel, Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch, portrays the trial of Katharina Kepler, mother of mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler. King describes the book this way:

A reimagination of the trial of Katharina Kepler, told in her voice, it’s a novel about the power of narrative over rational, or factual, truths that plays with layers of belief. In all of these ways, it’s a 17th-century witch novel that feels especially relevant for our fractured, divided, complicated times.

Galchen explains why she found Katharina to be a captivating character:

I also connected Katharina to women in my life—older women who don’t read the room, who are really smart, really capable, but who rub people the wrong way, or who people process weirdly because they have their own norms and their own way of doing things.

A Young Naturalist Inspires With Joy, Not Doom

Alex Marshall introduces us to Dara McAnulty, 17, of Northern Ireland, whose book Diary of a Young Naturalist won last year’s Wainwright Prize for nature writing. Marshall says that McAnulty is open about his autism and even started writing because of it: “‘I need to write, to process what’s going on,’ he said, ‘otherwise everything’s just banging around in my brain causing damage in there.’”

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Categories
Author News Fiction Last Week's Links Literary Criticism Literary History Literature & Psychology Reading Television

Literary Links

Authors say Texas state museum canceled book event examining slavery’s role in Battle of the Alamo

This HAS to be the week’s lead story.

A promotional event for a book examining the role slavery played leading up to the Battle of the Alamo that was scheduled at the Bullock Texas State History Museum on Thursday evening was abruptly canceled three and a half hours before it was scheduled to begin.

“Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick confirmed he called for the event to be canceled.”

A Salute to Bosch: Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts

Last week I talked about how much I like Michael Connelly’s books about detective Harry Bosch and the Amazon Prime series based on the novels. Here Mike Avila talks with the cast and producers of the Amazon series, which he calls “well regarded for its crime noir aesthetic as well as its attention to detail regarding police work. . . [and] also adored by a passionate fanbase for its thoughtful characterization.”

Her Kind Of Blue: Joni Mitchell’s Masterpiece At 50

Ann Powers reports for NPR on Joni Mitchell’s album Blue, which came out in 1971, with an emphasis on its storytelling:

the creative process is as mundane as it is miraculous. It’s dribs and drabs and then a rush and then back to staring at the ceiling, wondering if the rush will come back. Blue is an album about working through something — a heartache, people say. But it’s just as much a document of the process of sharing that heartache, an inquiry into personal storytelling itself. Until Blue, Mitchell was getting there, but she hadn’t wholly figured out what she alone could say. That’s because what each person alone can say is, in its pure state, incommunicable. Stories are what get left behind as their tellers keep living and evolving. They’re always inconclusive.

8 Best Beach Reads for Lovers of the Literary Novel, by God Spare the Girls Author Kelsey McKinney

I’ve just begun reading Kelsey McKinney’s recently released debut novel, God Spare the Girls, which is an out-of-my-comfort-zone book for me (more on that in a later post), so I was drawn to this reading list that promises some good books. And a bonus for me is that I haven’t read any of these books. How about you?

Strawberry Moon

Super moon over Tacoma, WA, USA, April7, 2020

Here’s a different approach to literary discussion: “In her monthly column The Moon in Full, Nina MacLaughlin illuminates humanity’s long-standing lunar fascination. Each installment is published in advance of the full moon.”

Check this out if you’re interested in the relationship between literature and mythology.

Alt That’s Fit to Print: The dangers and rewards of speculative fiction

Gene Seymour admits to a fascination with “alternate reality” stories. As much as Seymour likes such stories, he worries that someone might mistake Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad for “honest-to-Pete factual data”:

one of the dividends of alternate history, when it’s rendered well, is how it can illuminate actual things and events that happened in the past and quite often linger on in the present. To be drawn into such stories doesn’t mean you’re being taken. Sometimes, they wise you up.

For today’s feminist writers, sex makes a comeback

First-wave feminists focused on the burning issue of their day — suffrage. The second wave is focused on cultural critique. Our motto is “the personal is political,” and what could be more personal, or more provocative, than sex?

One problem: We can’t agree on what, exactly, feminist sex is.

Are All Short Stories O. Henry Stories?

“The writer’s signature style of ending—a final, thrilling note—has the touch of magic that distinguishes the form at its best.”

Louis Menand considers both the life and the literary output of William Sidney Porter, who published stories under the name O. Henry.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Categories
Author News Fiction Last Week's Links Life Stories in Literature Publishing Television

Literary Links

THE GREAT RIGHT-WING PUBLISHING DIVIDE WIDENS

If you’re still keeping up with the publishing hubbub, here’s another story on the formation of a new publishing company being started by a couple of conservative industry executives, “Louise Burke, a former top publisher at Simon & Schuster, and Kate Hartson, the former editorial director at Hachette Book Group’s Center Street imprint.”

Why Everyone You Know Suddenly Has Main Character Syndrome

“Main Character Syndrome” exists only in the overactive — and healthily deluded — minds of the internet’s many self-identified protagonists. But while Main Character Syndrome — a situation wherein people think of themselves as being the top-billed star of the feature film that is their regular lives — might sound like the kind of distorted sense of reality digitally averse boomers warn everyone under the age of 30 about, Main Character Syndrome is also an important coping technique — and it’s how we’ve collectively chosen to process this past year.

Michelle Santiago Cortés examines the social-media memes that have developed around our tendency to think of our life story as a movie. “Main character memes cut across platforms to unveil the shakiness at the core of our identities, the kind of uncertainty that only a hero’s journey can cure.”

Pain on the page: is this the end of the hysterical, ill woman of literature?

“Women over the centuries have not always expressed their own pain in art and literature. More often, they have had it expressed for them by men,” writes Arifa Akbar. But now, she continues, “That has changed and a tide of contemporary writers is offering correctives to the fantasies, often in first-person memoir form and with a note of urgency.”

Akbar looks at “a paradox at the heart of the old myth of sick femininity”:

illness is seen to be built into biology – emanating from the womb, ovaries and menstrual blood itself – but also, perversely, suspected of being “all in the head”. The figure of the hair-pulling hysteric is born out of this paradoxical distrust and is strewn across the literary and medical canons.

Intimate Strangers: Reading Airport Essays During a Pandemic

Annelise Jolley reports that during the pandemic “I’ve been missing airports and airplanes. I don’t just miss them for the adventure they imply; I also miss the casual proximity to strangers these in-between spaces invite.”

To help her “articulate what, exactly, I miss about being crammed up next to the passenger in seat 18B,” she turned to some of her favorite airport essays.

What drew me into this piece is the reference to “favorite airport essays.” I can’t say that I have any of those. 

Do you?

TV’s hero cops are under scrutiny. But ‘Bosch’ knew the system was broken all along

In this interview author Michael Connelly and actor Titus Welliver discuss the Amazon series Bosch, based on Connelly’s series of novels. The final season of the TV series is now streaming.

Titus Welliver on playing detective Harry Bosch: “He’s got a flawless moral compass. His credo is, ‘Everybody counts or nobody counts.’ Can you get more centered than that?”

I’m proud to wear my Harry Bosch shirt.

T shirt that reads "Everybody counts or nobody counts. --Harry Bosch"

Living Memory

“Black archivists, activists, and artists are fighting for justice and ethical remembrance — and reimagining the archive itself.”

Megan Pillow fears what will get lost in the documentation of all that happened during 2020:

What I didn’t find in these early pandemic archives was Breonna Taylor’s story. And her story—not just of her death, but of her life as an essential healthcare worker and a Black woman, part of a demographic that has been devastated by systemic racism across healthcare, politics, science, and law enforcement—is central to our country’s pandemic narrative. What many pandemic archive projects are missing is something Black archivists across the country and members of the Breonna Taylor justice movement already know. The COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice movement are not separate occurrences: protest is being enacted and lived through the crisis.

Elin Hilderbrand to retire from writing beach reads in 2024

“Elin Hilderbrand, known as the queen of the beach read,” has decided to stop writing her signature novels in 2024 because “I feel myself coming to my natural end of my material.”

For her next literary life, she wants to become a book influencer. ““You will not find anybody who reads more critically than a writer. . . . I really feel like book influencing should be done by writers. And so I should be that person.”

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Categories
Film Last Week's Links Publishing Television

Literary Links

Inside the Simon & Schuster Blowup Over Its Mike Pence Book Deal

This publishing dust-up just won’t go away. Here the Wall Street Journal takes on the business angle, of companies forced to “address employee demands.”

Philip Roth biography, pulled last month, has new publisher

And here’s an update on the other publishing story that won’t go away.

How women conquered the world of fiction

“From Sally Rooney to Raven Leilani, female novelists have captured the literary zeitgeist, with more buzz, prizes and bestsellers than men. But is this cultural shift something to celebrate or rectify?”

While a bit less immediate than the previous two stories, this is yet another pubishing issue that won’t go away.

Over the past 12 months, almost all of the buzz in fiction has been around young women: Patricia Lockwood, Yaa Gyasi, Raven Leilani, Avni Doshi, Lauren Oyler. Ask a novelist of any gender who they are reading and they will almost certainly mention one of Rachel Cusk, Ottessa Moshfegh, Rachel Kushner, Gwendoline Riley, Monique Roffey or Maria Stepanova. Or they will be finding new resonances in Anita Brookner, Zora Neale Hurston, Natalia Ginzburg, Octavia Butler, Ivy Compton-Burnett. The energy, as anyone in the publishing world will tell you, is with women.

When Is a Ghost Not a Ghost? Hauntings in Horror Literature

Jessica Avery declares, “a ghost is never just a ghost.” A ghost “always represents something more than itself. Something that you try not to think about. Something unpleasant you try to ignore or repress until you can’t any more and it rises up to — quite literally — haunt you.”

Follow Avery’s dive into the world of ghosts and haunted houses, including The Haunting of Hill House.

The StoryGraph Review: Is It Worth Replacing Goodreads?

Another literary issue I’ve been following recently is reader dissatisfaction with Goodreads and who or what might step up to replace it. StoryGraph had been in beta for a while as a possibility. Chris M. Arnone here reviews it for Book Riot.

The article includes directions on how to export your data from Goodreads and import it into StoryGraph, followed by discussion of its good points and shortcomings. 

Let us know in the comments if you’ve tried StoryGraph.

How Does a Book Get Adapted for TV or Film?

Have you ever wondered why your favorite book hasn’t yet been made into a film or TV series? Literary Hub recently conducted a virtual roundtable discussion with several writers from the film/TV industry about “a process that for many, is mysterious.”

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Categories
Author News Book Groups Fiction Last Week's Links Libraries Publishing Reading Television

Literary Links

We Need More Dark Stories with Hopeful Endings

Author Les Edgerton believes that dark novels needn’t have completely dark endings: “To endure page after page of never-ending pain and sorrow and to culminate in the same morass of tragedy would only be nihilism, and the best books don’t end like that.”

Here he lists some novels that illustrate an ending that combines something good with something bad to achieve a realistic view of life.

The Bigger the Publishers, the Blander the Books

Dennis Johnson, the co-founder and publisher of Melville House, writes that “the Penguin Random House–Simon & Schuster deal threatens the values that the book business champions.”

Stephen King Has Thoughts About Stephen King TV Shows

With a new adaptation of The Stand arriving on CBS All Access, Stephen King discusses the best and the worst TV adaptations of his novels.

Book Clubs in Lockdown

BookBrowse surveyed readers and book clubs to see how book clubs are adapting to conditions brought about by the current pandemic. You can download their report on current conditions and implications for the future.

When Reading Had No End

Dwight Garner discusses the dual nature of reading in 2020: “This was the worst year, and nothing made sense any longer, except when it was the best year, because time for reading seemed to expand like one of those endless summer afternoons when one was in the late stages of grade school.”

The literary life of Octavia E. Butler

“How local libraries shaped a sci-fi legend”

This interactaive map of the areas in California where science fiction author Octavia Butler grew up reveals how important libraries were in shaping her vision and her career.

The Benefits of Community Reading Programs

by Summer Loomis, for Book Riot:

Community reading programs have always interested me. I like the idea of people from different backgrounds and experiences coming together to read something together. There is something so calming about people being capable of this. I find it very comforting. However, it can be hard to feel like we’re part of a community at times. So I went searching for community reading programs of the “one book one community” type.

© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown

Categories
Book Recommendations Last Week's Links Publishing Television

Literary Links

15 Books About Appalachia to Read Instead of Hillbilly Elegy

This article came out after I posted last week’s articles about Hillbilly Elegy.

Kendra Winchester, from Appalachia, has compiled this list of works to counterbalance “the stereotypes of J.D. Vance’s version of Appalachia . . . [that] the entire region is made up of poor rural white people consumed with violence who have no one to blame but themselves for their life circumstances.”

Oxford’s 2020 Word of the Year? It’s Too Hard to Isolate

This year, Oxford Languages, the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, has forgone the selection of a single word in favor of highlighting the coronavirus pandemic’s swift and sudden linguistic impact on English.

Fauci’s plea ‘Wear a mask’ tops list of 2020 notable quotes

In other linguistic news, “A plea from Dr. Anthony Fauci for people to ‘wear a mask’ to slow the spread of the coronavirus tops a Yale Law School librarian’s list of the most notable quotes of 2020.”

How TV Cop Shows Are Tackling Police Brutality Storylines Post-George Floyd

This topic has come up periodically since the recent upheaval about racism in law enforcement. The article reports:

some cop TV shows including CBS’ “S.W.A.T.” and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago PD” are returning for their new seasons . . . And many plan to dive head-first into the new environment surrounding law enforcement.

Commentary: The latest publishing mega-merger might kill off small presses — and literary diversity

Another issue that gets talked about a lot is the lack of diversity in publishing. Here’s a look at the latest merger, the acquisition of Simon & Shuster, the third largest publisher in the U.S., by Bertelsmann, the parent company of Penguin Random House.

The Best Epigraphs of 2020

Epigraphs are those short quotations at the beginning of books or, sometimes, at the beginning of each chapter or section in a book. I admit that I usually don’t pay as much attention to them as I should. I always intend to go back at the end and ponder their significance, but often I don’t remember to do it.

Here’s a list compiled by Ashley Holstrom of the best epigraphs of books published in 2020.

11 Short New Books to Read in One Sitting

And here’s something that I found after I had published Books You Can Read in One Day.

All the books on this list are recent publications, so you might find some new recommendations here that aren’t on the other lists.

© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown

Categories
Quotation Television

Why ‘Gilmore Girls’ Endures – The New York Times

Sherman-Palladino picked Graham for the part of Lorelai over several more well-known actors, at least partly for her literary acumen. “She’s the first actress that pronounced the name ‘Kerouac’ correctly,” Sherman-Palladino told her husband after seeing her.

Source: Why ‘Gilmore Girls’ Endures – The New York Times

Categories
Fiction Last Week's Links Reading Television

Literary Links

The 50 Greatest Apocalypse Novels

“Apropos of . . . Nothing”

I’m including this list here because, really, how could I not? How many of these have you read?

I’ve read five, and I have two more on the top of my TBR pile. I think that’s pretty good, given that I usually avoid most science fiction and horror, which many of these are.

In 2020, Is Science Fiction Still an Escape?

“Matthew B. Tepper, president of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society—now celebrating its 86th anniversary—discusses these strange times and explains why (the late) Ray Bradbury is still a member in good standing.”

And always remember: Science fiction isn’t about the future; it’s about the present.

How Lolita Author Vladimir Nabokov Helped Ruth Bader Ginsburg Find Her Voice

He [Vladimir Nabokov] was a man who was in love with the sound of words. It had to be the right word and in the right word order. So he changed the way I read, the way I write. He was an enormous influence.


—Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The late Supreme Court justice on the importance of her English classes taught by Vladimir Nabokov at Cornell, where she earned her undergraduate degree.

Reading literary versus popular fiction promotes different socio-cognitive processes, study suggests

Recently published research out of Italy “suggests that the type of fiction a person reads affects their social cognition in different ways. Specifically, literary fiction was associated with increased attributional complexity and accuracy in predicting social attitudes, while popular fiction was linked to increased egocentric bias.”

But, emphasizes lead author Emanuele Castano of the University of Trento and the National Research Council in Italy:

We are not saying that literary fiction is better than popular fiction. As human beings, we need the two types of thinking that are trained by these two types of fiction. The literary type pushes us to assess others as unique individuals, to withhold judgment, to think deeply. It is important, but it can paralyze us in our attempt to navigate the social world. The popular type reinforces our socially-learned and culturally-shared schemas . . .

Rebecca and beyond: the creative allure of gothic Cornwall

The recent Netflix movie version of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier has prompted new interest in Cornwall, also the setting for the recent PBS drama Poldark

According to Joan Passey, teaching associate in Victorian literature and culture at the University of Bristol:

Cornwall’s legends, landscape, and distinctive identity lent themselves to the gothic imagination from the end of the 18th century. As far afield as the US, Cornwall was perceived as a place of hauntings, madness, and death — a foreign, liminal threat composed of precipices and thresholds which would influence subsequent representations of the county.

Cornwall has remained a central location in the gothic literary tradition that has lasted more than 200 years.

Why Are We Learning About White America’s Historical Atrocities from TV?

How “Watchmen” and “Lovecraft Country” got stuck filling in the gaps in our education.

Author Elwin Cotman writes, “I learned the truth about the past and present of white terrorism from my parents, who grew up in the Jim Crow South and had firsthand experience.” Here he discusses the significance of the fact that most Americans are now learning about atrocities against Black people in the U.S. from television rather than from history classes. 

© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown

Categories
Author News Fiction Last Week's Links Literary History Reading Television

Literary Links

Is the literary trend toward passive women progress? Maybe we’ve been misreading

Lynn Steger Strong writes that Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy “broke open a new and surprisingly vital form: the novel of passivity.” Strong is happy to see that, for the last decade or so, women’s fiction has been recognized for probing what the novel—“forms built by and for males”—can be:

In particular, novels about a woman thinking, being talked at, are being actively considered. As opposed to the Great Male Novels that centered agency and action, these books are being seen as an expansion of the form, a shaking off of its conventional demands. Often they are built in fragments, structured around failure, absences, passivity and lacks. They defy the novelistic demands for a certain type of resolution; they land in spaces of confusion and of questions, refuse to give clear lines between cause and effect.

Evolution of a Reader

Andi Diehn lovingly describes how her reading—not just the books read, but the process and purpose of reading—has changed from age 10 through college, then through graduate school.

girl reading

I can relate. I left graduate school after completing the coursework, though not the dissertation, for a Ph.D. in literature after realizing that the academic experience did not correspond to my joy in and love of reading literature.

How Sci-Fi Writer H.P. Lovecraft’s Appalling Legacy of Racism Inspired HBO’s Lovecraft Country

HBO’s new series Lovecraft Country is based on Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name. This article takes a look at why Ruff decided to use Lovecraft’s work as the basis for an examination of American bigotry: “the fact that Lovecraft himself was deeply racist and anti-Semitic. And while many long-dead artists espoused beliefs that are abhorrent by 2020 standards, Lovecraft was even a bigot for his own time.”

This short article offers an overview of the writer and his legacy. 

‘We’ve Already Survived an Apocalypse’: Indigenous Writers Are Changing Sci-Fi

“Long underrepresented in genre fiction, Native American and First Nations authors are reshaping its otherworldly (but still often Eurocentric) worlds.”

there has been an explosion of novels, comics, graphic novels and short stories from writers blending sci-fi and fantasy with Native narratives, writing everything from “slipstream” alternate realities to supernatural horror to post-apocalyptic stories about environmental collapse.

Poets and novelists have been writing about life under COVID-19 for more than a century

Rachel Hadas, professor of English at Rutgers University, shares the idea “that good art gives a clear picture of what is happening – even . . . if it hadn’t happened yet when that art was created.”

Here she gives some examples from literature written between 1897 and the middle of the 20th century.

One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times

“In 2017, the Times dissolved its copy desk, possibly permitting more typos to slip through. Meet the anonymous lawyer who’s correcting the paper of record one untactful tweet at a time.” 

The former English teacher and copy editor in me couldn’t resist this article. I’m often distressed by the glaring errors in punctuation and grammar that I see just about everywhere, not just in The New York Times. But I don’t think I’d have the stamina that the person behind this Twitter account seems to have. 

© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown

Categories
Audiobooks Fiction Last Week's Links Reading Television

Literary Links

Alan Dershowitz claims a fictional lawyer defamed him. The implications for novelists are very real.

on Charles of the Washington Post reports that Alan Dershowitz, a real-life attorney, claims that he was defamed by a fictional attorney on the CBS All Access show The Good Fight.

This may sound comic, “But his complaint, if successful, could pose a challenge to the vibrancy of contemporary historical fiction and biographical fiction — indeed, to any creative work that includes interactions between fictional and real-life public figures,” writes Charles.

What Irony Is Not

“A handy guide to distinguishing the notoriously slippery concept from its distant cousins coincidence, satire, parody, and paradox.”

In this excerpt from his book Irony and Sarcasm, Roger Kreuz, Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychology at the University of Memphis, attempts to define this notoriously slippery term and differentiate it from related concepts such as coincidence, paradox, satire, and parody.

Author Angie Thomas on How Books Are Transforming the Next Generation: ‘They’re Realizing Their Power’

cover: The Hate U Give

“I believe in the power of books and how they shape young people for the future,” Thomas declared. “I’m very hopeful that we’re giving them better tools so that they could be better leaders than any of us ever imagined.”

Angie Thomas, whose 2017 YA debut novel was The Hate U Give, believes books can inspire and empower the world’s future leaders.

Listen Up: The Benefits of Audiobooks for Your Heart and Mind

I’ve always thought of audiobooks as a way to get more reading done while doing other tasks such as cleaning or folding laundry. Here Stacey Megally bolsters that function with information on the mental, physical, and emotional benefits of audiobooks.

Watch more TV to understand the backlash against the women in the running for vice president

Beth Daley, co-author with Kristina Horn Sheeler of the book Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture, examines “how fictional and actual women presidential figures are framed in news coverage, political satire, memes, television and film. Our close reading of these diverse texts reveals a persistent backlash that takes many forms: satirical cartoons that deploy sexist stereotypes; the pornification of women candidates in memes; and news framing that includes misogynistic metaphors, to name a few.”

Reading as a Form of Protest

Gracie Bialecki lauds reading as a form of protest because of novels’ ability to increase empathy by immersing readers into the lives of characters different from themselves. 

Among the books she cites are Black Boy by Richard Wright, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Sula by Toni Morrison.

© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown