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....more
Posts Tagged: The Atlantic
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.
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.
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.
The refusal of such a woman, who lived in such a time, to be silent created a new mold for the self…
Karen Swallow Prior, writing for the Atlantic, shares her essay on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and its roots in the Protestant Reformation that contributed to the Western idea of the self—and so, inevitably, selfies....more
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.
Elegance is a refinement of simplicity rather than a flourish of excess. Elegance prompts wit rather than comedy, sentiment rather than sentimentality. Such restraint is the lens through which all the diffuse sensations of desire are focused into the flame of passion.
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....more
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.
An actress of color is predicted to play Nancy Drew in the upcoming CBS adaptation of Nancy Drew. At the Atlantic, Lenika 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.
Over at the Atlantic, Colleen Gillard takes a critical look at the differences between British and American children’s stories. While British stories for children tend to be rooted in fantasy and folklore, she writes, American children’s classics tend to be more grounded in realism....more
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.
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.
At the Atlantic, Joe Fassler speaks with author Kevin Barry about the future of fiction. According to Barry, the “best hope” for building interest in fiction in a world “distracted” by technology is through audio storytelling:
But one thing can still arrest us, slow us down, and stop us in our tracks: the human voice.
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....more
Nick Ripatrazone on why writers need to run:
While on sabbatical in London in 1972, a homesick Oates began running “compulsively; not as a respite for the intensity of writing but as a function of writing.” At the same time, she began keeping a journal that ultimately exceeded 4,000 single-spaced, typewritten pages.
Everyone says Anna Karenina is about individual desire going against society, but I actually think the opposite is stronger: the way societal forces limit the expression of the individual.
Academics aren’t exactly known for their simple prose. At the Atlantic, Victoria Clayton details the movement to make scholarly writing more clear and accessible:
Bosley, who has a doctorate in rhetoric and writing, says that academic prose is often so riddled with professional jargon and needlessly complex syntax that even someone with a PhD can’t understand a fellow PhD’s work unless he or she comes from the very same discipline.
In recent years, many reputable publications have taken to charging reading fees and earlier this year, Nick Mamatas set off an Internet kerfuffle over The Offing‘s reading fee policies. The ethical quandary surrounding reading fees persist—not only are reading fees obstacles to diversity in writing, but the system is structured to ensure the continued success of successful writers rather than discovering and fostering emerging voices....more
Does anyone go on book tours anymore? Should they? Over at the Atlantic, Noah Charney makes the case for preserving the institution, if only for the three people who showed up to your reading:
Tours are often the only chance for writers to spend time with the actual people who read their books.
At the Atlantic, David R. Wheeler examines recent attempts to limit freedom of the press on college campuses, tracking conflicts between university officials and college newspapers and court cases:
In 2005, students at Governors State University in Illinois lost a lawsuit claiming that their First Amendment rights had been violated over the censorship of the school newspaper, The Innovator.