Literature

Hauntology and Valhalla

Like many who went through college and then grad-school in the religion / literature / philosophy circles, I’ve read and pondered my share of Derrida and the consequences of ontology on our “demon-haunted world” … another reason I’ve absolutely loved playing AC Valhalla (about 125 hours in at this point since picking it up over the Holidays). A pun coined by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the early ’90s, hauntology refers to the study of …

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The shift from blogs to email newsletters

Ironic that you’re reading this on my blog… Almost every writer or artist I know has a newsletter. One way to understand this boom is that as social media has siloed off chunks of the open web, sucking up attention, the energy that was once put into blogging has now shifted to email. — Read on www.wired.com/story/future-book-is-here-but-not-what-we-expected/

Was Writing Developed by Poets, Priests, our Accountants?

Fun read: As a writer of nonfiction, I can’t help but love writing’s roots in enumerating concrete objects and reality itself. The textual analyst part of me loves how Mesopotamian tokens were wrapped in clay envelopes after being impressed on the soft exterior – perhaps clay-wrapped tokens of meaning give rise to the notion that text is both a surface and an interior, and that that’s what leads us to talk so relentlessly (in English …

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Wizarding School Locations from Harry Potter (or Love Letters to My Kids)

“The map above shows the locations of the 8 Wizarding schools that have been revealed so far, that exist in the Harry Potter universe.” Source: Wizarding School Locations from Harry Potter – Brilliant Maps I’ve always loved maps and map-making. As a kid, I filled notebooks with imaginary island countries or continents (and their cities) on alien planets. My favorite cartoon was Tailspin because of that fantastic rock formation that ringed their island. Many of the …

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2015 and the Return to Long Form

It annoys me beyond belief when people tell me our podcasts “should be 20 or so minutes” on Thinking.FM… All-day podcasts and brick-sized books. Or, why 2015 was the year the long form fought back | Books | The Guardian: “There is something almost inexpressibly appealing about this, in an era when almost all other content – articles, podcasts, videos, TV shows – arrives doing jazz hands, anxiously soliciting the reader’s or listener’s or viewer’s …

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“Reading of many books is a distraction.”

Keep in mind… Focus Fracas – The Chronicle of Higher Education: “We talk a lot about distraction, but the way we tend to talk about it suffers from historical amnesia. Since the invention of writing, people have warned about its supposedly harmful effects. Socrates thought it would weaken readers’ memories. ‘Be careful,’ Seneca warned, ‘lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady.’ In his …

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Michigan Bookstore Offers Refunds For “Go Set a Watchman”

“Brilliant Books compared Lee’s new book to James Joyce’s Stephen Hero, a book that was never pitched as a mainstream novel. “Hero was initially rejected, and Joyce reworked it into the classic Portrait,” the store explained in its statement. “Hero was eventually released as an academic piece for scholars and fans—not as a new ‘Joyce novel.’ We would have been delighted to see Go Set A Watchman receive a similar fate.’” Source: Michigan Bookstore Offers Refunds …

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‘Go Set a First Draft’

“In one of her last interviews, conducted in 1964, Lee said: “I think the thing that I most deplore about American writing … is a lack of craftsmanship. It comes right down to this — the lack of absolute love for language, the lack of sitting down and working a good idea into a gem of an idea.” A publisher that cared about Harper Lee’s legacy would have taken those words to heart, and declined …

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The problems with ebook subscription models

Way more people watch TV and movies and listen to music than read books or magazines. That’s why we’re starting to see that Netflix is Netflix, Spotify is Spotify, and ebook and magazine subscription sites are, well, something else. Source: What Scribd’s growing pains mean for the future of digital content subscription models » Nieman Journalism Lab You have to be careful of those romance novel readers. I’ve been fascinated by the concepts of ebook …

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Writing Is Dead

Beautiful (and horribly depressing) read: It is not just that people with degrees in English generally go to work for corporations (which of course they do); the point is that the company, in its most cutting-edge incarnation, has become the arena in which narratives and fictions, metaphors and metonymies and symbol networks at their most dynamic and incisive are being generated, worked through and transformed. While “official” fiction has retreated into comforting nostalgia about kings …

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Keeping the Canon

The older I get, the more I want to share the joys of “the canon” and liberal arts in general. Every generation feels that its world is slipping into the morass of public, but our Amazon reviews and Buzzfeed listicles don’t make me feel any more assured that we’re not… Although serious writers continue to work in the hope that time will forgive them for writing well, the prevailing mood welcomes fiction and poetry of …

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Books Aren’t Just Commodities

Worth your time (and I love the dig at Amazon and the cartel of book publishers): Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art …

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If you like to read and love books,  you should be listening to Elizabeth’s and Merianna’s podcast. Good stuff.

O’Connor’s Prayer Journal

Parker’s Back is still one of my favorite stories, and I’ll definitely be picking this up: She sensed that the act of creation in both was not her own. “My dear God,” she wrote, “how stupid we people are until You give us something. Even in praying it is You who have to pray in us.” Like the Psalmist who asked God for words to pray, O’Connor believed that words themselves are a gift from …

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“…parked a big blue box on the rug.”

My favorite line from my favorite episode of Dr Who: Doctor Who “The Impossible Astronaut” (Episode 6.1) | Planet Claire Quotes: “The Doctor: Mr. President. That child just told you every you need to know, but you weren’t listening. Never mind, though, ’cause the answer’s yes. I’ll take the case. Fellas, the guns? Really? I just walked into the highest security office in the United States, parked a big blue box on the rug. You …

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Setting Fire to the Past

Despicable: Ancient Manuscripts In Timbuktu Reduced To Ashes : The Two-Way : NPR: “‘These priceless manuscripts are my identity, they’re my history. They are documents about Islam, history, geography, botany, poetry. They are close to my heart and they belong to the whole world,’ the mayor said.” Fundamentalists in Mali aren’t the first or the last to commit such atrocities, of course. Europeans have a long history of setting fire to their respective pasts as …

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