Oxford University Press has concluded that “hashtag” is the UK children’s word of the year, with kids using the term to connote emphasis and emotions. The press analyzed more than 120,000 short story entries from British children under thirteen to better understand how they use the English language....more
Posts Tagged: Guardian
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....more
He has won every other literary prize in the book, including the Man Booker International, the Prix Medicis Etranger, the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, a position of dominance that, in line with European-held stereotypes about his countrymen generally, only leaves him wanting more.
I shall worship her with quiet dignity. I shall draw her attention to me by exploits, success, and possibly a small measure of fame,” wrote a young, romantically inclined Jack Kerouac to a friend in one of a cache of letters by the Beat author that has come to light.
In 2011, Phyllis Rose read every book on the LEQ-LES shelf in the New York Public Library and wrote about the experience in an essay collection called The Shelf. In doing so, Rose joined the long tradition of “bibliomemoirs”—a blend of autobiography and literary criticism....more
The Hawking Index was created by mathematician Jordan Ellenberg to measure how much of a book readers were actually reading, by analyzing Amazon’s “Popular Highlights” feature on Kindle devices.
Over at the Guardian, writer and literary critic Alex Clark and columnist Tom Lamont debate whether it is truly important and necessary to get through a books in its entirety....more
Writers have been getting poorer, and it turns out publishers are partly to blame. The Guardian reports that while authors are expected to do more when it comes to marketing and promotion, and though electronic books have lowered costs for publishers, the beneficiaries of these savings tend to be the publishers rather than the authors:
Nicola Solomon, who heads the 9,000-member strong Society of Authors, said that publishers, retailers and agents are all now taking a larger slice of the profit when a book is sold, and that while “authors’ earnings are going down generally, those of publishers are increasing”
It turns out that French poet Charles Baudelaire wasn’t very fond of his compatriot Victor Hugo. Despite having the novelist’s support when prosecuted after publishing Les Fleurs du Mal, the poet may have secretly despised (or perhaps just envied) Hugo—in a newly discovered letter from Baudelaire to an unknown correspondent, he calls the writer “stupid” and an “idiot.”...more
Whether glamorized or pitied, the figure of the alcoholic writer has long been a subject of cultural fascination. Having written a book on the usual suspects—Hemingway, Fitzgerald, et al.—Olivia Laing asks the unfortunately necessary follow-up question: okay, but what about the women?...more
Psychologists believe that the brain has two complementary modes of thought. If you’re curious about the difference between system 1 (fast mode) and system 2 (slow mode), check out this Guardian review of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Because it’s never too late in the week to be reminded of our self-delusions....more
“But if we are going to manufacture our reality, couldn’t we make it a bit better? The thing we seem to like manufacturing the best are enemies, and here we are all guilty. Al-Qaida manufactured a vision of the west dominated by Satan, and the west has manufactured a simplistic vision of the Islamic world to direct its anger at in response.”
Applauding science fiction’s ability to remind us of the constructed nature of reality, this Guardian article references Lavie Tidhar’s new novel, Osama, as a key example of the genre’s political possibilities....more
Two young adult males–Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22–both just received four-year sentences for using Facebook to incite a riot in their Cheshire hometown that never happened. Despite the announcement over Facebook concerning the riots that were purportedly going to occur, no one showed up to these locations apart from the police....more
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the British phone hacking scandal is the lack of coverage in the US press.
Among the US newspapers, the NY Times is the only one I can find which has done significant reporting on the story, though the best work on the story comes from (no surprise) the Guardian....more
For the most part, a quick glance at the cover of any romance novel is all it takes to reveal the formula that’s inside. For better or worse, it’s a genre of fantasied gender stereotypes and it has long had its place....more
As of yesterday, the Oxford Comma was seen reenacting moments from Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail and generally acting like a spastic teenager. It is quoted as saying “I’m not dead yet,” “I feel happy,” and “I think I’ll go for a walk.” Haters of the Oxford Comma were overheard muttering to themselves about a desire for a large stick, club, or medieval weapon with which to bash it....more
The Guardian researches why the female presence seems to be diminishing in science fiction writing. Though there isn’t necessarily a shortage of female authors (or women publishers), there is a serious lack of female presence in the Guardian’s list of favorite science fiction writing books, chosen by readers....more
Is the Bible too liberal for you? Too much of that “help the poor” and not enough sinner-smiting? Do you have no knowledge of ancient Greek and no experience in translation? Then you’re perfect for this project.
Shirley Dent talks about the difference between idiom and slang, especially as it relates to culture....more
A confluence of politics and poetry: Senate Sotomayor votes explained in haiku.
No great surprise, but poetry is disappearing from B&N bookshelves in Chico, CA. And pretty much every B&N, for that matter.
Sometimes I feel like I should just put a link to Mike Chasar’s blog in every one of these posts....more
Novelist Orhan Pamuk asks in The Guardian “why do beautiful scenes inspire us to kiss?”
Millions of people who live outside the west – and especially those who, like me, live in Muslim countries – never get to see two lovers kissing on the lips in everyday life (of course, you do not necessarily have to be lovers to kiss on the lips)
I hadn’t considered before how western an act a public kiss can be....more