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A Modern-Day Typewriter

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The personal computer may have revolutionized the way writers write, but distractions from the Internet and social media may not make it the ideal tool for writing. Designer Adam Leeb has created a hybrid typewriter called a Hemingwrite. Long battery life, instant on, and a mechanical keyboard help make Hemingwrite feel more like a typewriter or word processor, but with one key distinction—cloud connectivity backs up and syncs documents to services like Google Docs.

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Author Roboto

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At Melville House, Liam O’Brien delves into the fictional and factual history of book-writing computers, from Roald Dahl’s “The Great Automatic Grammatizator” to the Russian computer that rewrote Anna Karenina in the style of Murakami. With some media outlets already using bots to pen articles, he wonders if the robots will be coming for literature next.

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Another Story to Guide You

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Over at the New Yorker, Etgar Keret and Sayed Kashua continue their conversation:

I believe that this despair is temporary, and that even though there are quite a few political elements that would rather see us despairing, and even though it sometimes seems as if enormous forces are working to convince us that hope is just another word in our national anthem and not a powerful force that can lead to change, people feel deep down that the terrible situation we find ourselves in is not really the only dish on the regional menu.

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Notable Los Angeles: 10/20–10/26

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Monday 10/20: Joe Perry signs Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith. 7 p.m. at Book Soup.

Lauren Cobb reads from Boulevard Women. 7:30 p.m. at Skylight Books.

Tuesday 10/21: Dan Jones presents and signs The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors.

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Using Language to Combat Violence

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Feminism needs stronger language to combat violence against women, argues Jacqueline Rose in the Guardian. Fourth-wave feminism must confront the issue of male-on-female violence globally, crafting new language “that allows women to claim their place in the world.” She points to various forms of violent oppression women face regularly, from genital mutilation to rape as weapons of war.

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Notable NYC: 10/18–10/24

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Saturday 10/18: Poetry Forum 2014. The New School, 10 a.m., $45 daily / $135 full pass.

Melissa Buckheit reads poetry along with Corollary Press founder Sueyeun Juliette Lee. Berl’s Poetry Shop.

Happy fifth anniversary Greenlight Bookstore. Celebrate all day, party at night.

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The Efficacy of Words

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The truth is that the horror of being eaten outpaces the horror of death by any other means. Microbe, animal, another human: being consumed feels sharper, entirely visceral. But why?

Over at Guernica, Lance Richardson writes on Peter Gorman’s Ayahuasca in My Blood: 25 Years of Medicine Dreaming, an ethnographic account of his experiences  in the Amazon.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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As the story goes, nearly 100 years ago a group of Surrealist artists gathered together and put a new spin on an old parlor game called Consequences. The meeting resulted in their collective authorship of this phrase: “The/ exquisite/ corpse/ will/ drink/ the/ young/ wine.” Now familiar to many writers by the name of “Exquisite Corpse,” the game requires at least three participants who send round a single sheet of paper on which each member, looking only at the entry that came before him or her, makes a written or drawn contribution, folds over the paper, and passes it on to the next person.

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On Social Capital and Staying Hidden

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Meander to Hazlitt for Linda Besner’s recent reading of Alfred Hermida’s Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why it Matters. Besner’s critique is particularly concerned with the role of anonymity in a new, social-media-dominated landscape:

Social media, in other words, is a gift economy, in which we share information both in the expectation that others will share important information with us and in the hopes of increasing our social capital .

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Fame and Literature, Irreconcilable Enemies

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Reflecting on what might become of Roberto Bolaño, and his fame, John Yargo covers two biographies of the Chilean writer for the Los Angeles Review of Books, noting that these scholars had to “face a unique problem”:

The seductive popular image of [Bolaño]—something like a better-read Burroughs—is at odds with the voice of his fiction and his essays, which tends to be more generous, expansive, and penetrating than his image suggests.

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Slouching Toward Didion

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The Daily Beast takes a look at the history of the female essayist from Didion to Dunham:

From cultural critic Susan Sontag and journalist-turned-screenwriter-turned-novelist (and Dunham’s mentor) Nora Ephron, and on through to the host of talented female essayists writing today, this is clearly a flourishing genre that the following women writers—in my mind some of the best writing today—are very much making their own; as Carol Hanisch famously declared in 1969, the personal is political; if, that is, one’s personal experience is mined eloquently and intelligently enough.

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Song of the Day: “Coronus, The Terminator”

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Four years ago, LA Weekly called Steven Ellison’s music “spiritual electronica.” Today, in the wake of his fifth release, Your Dead!, the artist known as Flying Lotus is still just as difficult to categorize. The experimental producer and beat-making virtuoso is known for creating hard-to-describe musical landscapes in the tradition of predecessors J-Dilla and Madlib.

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