Posts Tagged: The Atlantic

Post-Gone Girl Crime Writing

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When today’s crime writers are in doubt, they have a woman come through the door with a passive-aggressive zinger on her lips.

At the Atlantic, Terrence Rafferty writes about the history crime fiction, from pulp writers in the 20s and 30s through Raymond Chandler to Gillian Flynn, and how women are writing the best crime out there today.

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Girly, Arty Angst

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At the Atlantic, Amy Weiss-Meyer discusses debut authors Rebecca Schiff and Abigail Ulman, placing them, along with writer Lena Dunham, in a group of authors that critic Harold Rosenberg calls a “mass culture of individuals:”

Theirs is a literary ecosystem fueled by the dream of achieving viral acclaim—of appealing to the masses by parading one’s exquisite, insecure individuality.

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Lessons from Frog and Toad

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At the AtlanticBert Clere reflects on Arnold Lobel’s children’s books, Frog and Toad and Owl at Home, the lessons these stories try to teach, and the representation of the self in each of them:

Although Frog and Toad’s world is perhaps more pastoral than that of their average reader, most can recognize and relate to the situations the duo find themselves in.

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No Pronouns

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Using Anne Garréta’s 1986 novel, Sphinx, as a springboard, Stephanie Hayes explores the superpowers of gender-blank characters for the Atlantic. Sphinx’s recent translator, Emma Ramadan, describes how what began as an Oulipan constraint to avoid gender became a freedom from preconceived notions of male and female, and sometimes, a guessing game.

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Homeward Unbound

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Some would argue that the loss of privacy is a small price to pay to have your voice heard on an international scale. But over at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes honestly and unpretentiously about his difficulties returning home as a prominent literary figure, and how his sudden visibility carries a safety concern particular to being a black man who regularly speaks his truth:

But the world is real.

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Better Funding Boosts Library Usage

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Library use has been declining, but that decline probably isn’t due to a decreasing interest in reading. Plenty of pundits blame the rise of digital technology, but even libraries that offer digital services like ebook lending have seen declines. The real culprit is the same crisis afflicting all of American infrastructure: a lack of investment.

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Writing in a Digital Age

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Moleskine has recently come out with a digital notebook and smart-pen that transcribes one’s writing onto their smartphone—seemingly going against their ethos of the importance of pen and paper. Katharine Schwab reckons with this new development, and the fascinating popularity of Moleskine, over at the Atlantic:

It’s easy to wax philosophical about the role paper can play in creativity, regardless of its veracity.

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Broadway-Blues-Bad Casting

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Ever since Zoe Saldana was set to play Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina, controversy has surrounded the casting choice. Writing in the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates says that the issue isn’t just about Saldana’s lighter skin tone, but the erasure of Simone’s facial features and what it says about America’s racist beauty standards:

Saldana has said that others actors who better resembled Simone passed on the role, and that she herself declined it for a year.

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Agents and Editors and Readers! Oh My!

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At Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel offers a sharp response to a recent Atlantic article that explores how MFA programs have influenced contemporary literature:

The MFA is only two to three years out of a writer’s life. Those years don’t outweigh decades of signaling from the publishing industry, major newspapers, and magazines about what type of fiction is popular and publishable.

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The Library in a City’s Time of Crisis

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Libraries are major hubs that serve the community, and even more so in times when people are looking for help. Over at the Atlantic, Deborah Fallows details the efforts to preserve the San Bernardino library, which has seen an increased sense of community after the tragic shootings last year:

When I asked people what felt different in [San Bernardino], some of the language was new.

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Rihanna’s Anti Capitalist Strategy

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Although it marks a turn away from the hit-heavy model of a record industry money-maker, Rihanna’s Anti is still a calculated capitalist move, and the Atlantic explains how. In an editorial examination of record release strategies, the Atlantic connects the dots between Samsung’s sponsorship of the new record and how Rihanna is making money by giving the new album away for free.

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It’s Literally Fine

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At the Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance defends teenagers’ ever-maligned contributions to the lexicon, citing a recent student that examines the extent to which teens influence linguistic change:

And the thing about linguistic changes is they can’t exactly be stopped in any sort of deliberate way…Even old-school grammar geeks are warming up to “they” as an acceptable gender-neutral pronoun, understanding that culture doesn’t just trump language rules, it creates them—then destroys them, then creates new ones again.

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A New Nancy Drew

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An actress of color is predicted to play Nancy Drew in the upcoming CBS adaptation of Nancy Drew. At the AtlanticLenika Cruz reflects on this decision:

The announcement will do little to quell fears that the future of entertainment will primarily be reboots, sequels, origin stories, prequels, and remakes; dooming audiences to year after year of studios excavating material from the past and trying to make it all feel new again.

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When Does a Writer Grow Up?

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The Atlantic examines adulthood and how we get there, including a close look at the life of a writer:

Henry published his first book…when he was 31 years old, after 12 years of changing jobs and bouncing back and forth between his parents’ home, living on his own, and crashing with a buddy, who believed in his potential…He may have floundered during young adulthood, but Henry David Thoreau turned out pretty okay.

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Greatest Hits of the Heart

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Patience. Curiosity. Repetition. Looking again and again. Not imposing a story line. Letting composition emerge through pattern, rhythm, shape, sound, movement. Occasionally … you hit upon a moment of grace. You can’t plan for it. You just have to practice enough so that you’re ready when it comes.

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Dean Koontz for Penguin Random House

The Rumpus Interview with Dean Koontz

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Dean Koontz talks about his newest novel, Ashley Bell, overcoming self-doubt, and “what this incredibly beautiful language of ours allows you to do.” ...more

Why Commercial Success Gets Criticized As Sentimental

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Perhaps it is because there are so few proven paths to success, and so little success to go around, that when an acclaimed novelist actually succeeds on a large scale, highbrow critics can become vicious.

While the novels praised as “literary” by the critics rarely fly off bookstore shelves to become commercial successes, novels that do become commercial successes are often the ripe targets of critics’ ire.

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