Posts Tagged: Rebecca Mead

Skewed Standards

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The YA battle rages on at Flavorwire, where Sarah Seltzer responds to Rebecca Mead’s New Yorker essay pondering the effects of supposedly lowbrow children’s lit:

We have to interrogate our basic assumption that writing skills possessed by educated white people are the best skills around…Humor, action, relatable language, and plotting are not lesser tools in a writer’s toolbox, but equally necessary ones.

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What’s So Great about Relatability?

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In the wake of a tweet by Ira Glass that called Shakespeare’s plays unrelatableRebecca Mead explores why we care so much about whether we can relate to a play, story or work of art. She admits there’s nothing new about people wanting to see themselves reflected in art, but is still bothered by this recent insistence on relatability:

To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience.

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The How and Why of Reading

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Writing “in defense of reading” essays is an outmoded literary form. Leo Robson points out in an examination of a slew of new books that reading, unlike other pastimes such as smoking, is generally considered a healthy pursuit. Since nobody debates the merits of reading, defenders of the faith like Howard Bloom have focused instead on the “how to” and the “why.” These are the questions at the heart of new books by John Carey, Philip Davis, Wendy Lesser, and Rebecca Mead, all of which can be read, as Robson points out, while smoking.

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Notable NYC: 2/1–2/7

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Saturday 2/1: Chris Hosea writes customized poetry for visitors of Ugly Duckling Presse’s gallery event. Third Factory at Old American Can Factory, noon, free.

Chris Nealon and Catherine Wagner read poetry as part of the Segue Reading Series. Zinc Bar, 4:30 p.m., $5.

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What’s Sexist and What’s Not

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Novelist Jennifer Weiner has long been an outspoken critic of literary sexism, vocally demanding respect for herself and other female authors and pushing back against stodgy heavyweights like Jonathan Franzen.

But how much dismissal of Weiner can be attributed to contempt for women’s issues, and how much can be attributed to the fact that her books often have predictable plot arcs and formulaic happy endings?

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