Posts Tagged: the new york times

Mirrors and Windows

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Jacqueline Woodson responds to Daniel Handler’s racist watermelon joke at the National Book Awards with a moving and direct piece in the New York Times. She neither condemns nor forgives Handler, but instead focuses on her personal history with the watermelon joke, the positive direction of diversity in publishing, and her mission in writing:

This mission is what’s been passed down to me — to write stories that have been historically absent in this country’s body of literature, to create mirrors for the people who so rarely see themselves inside contemporary fiction, and windows for those who think we are no more than the stereotypes they’re so afraid of.

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The Lost Pulp of Gore Vidal

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Before he became an acclaimed novelist and political commentator, Gore Vidal was just a guy trying to make ends meet. Under three different pseudonyms, Vidal wrote a romance novel, three mysteries, and a crime thriller. Now, over 50 years later,  Thieves Fall Out, a pulp novel set during the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, is being re-issued, this time with Vidal’s name on the cover.

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Learning from Books that Are Supposedly Terrible

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As any lover of literature might tell you, all books are not created equal. But this does not mean that there is nothing to be gained from novels that are, in many ways, flawed. Over at the New York Timeswriters Leslie Jamison and James Parker discuss “supposedly terrible books that left a lasting impression”:

I will always love Go Ask Alice for the very qualities that make it an aesthetic failure.

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From True Love to Ambivalence

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Think your love of certain passages will never fade? The New York Times Sunday Book Review argues that perhaps not all passages will withstand the test of time. How much does age change what we love?

If you’re the sort of person who has always marked up your books — written comments in the margins and underlined passages that you particularly like — you will end up, in middle age, owning a lot of books inscribed with the remarks and reactions of a much younger you.

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Absent Characters

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People of color have been largely excluded from children’s literature. Of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, only 93 featured black characters. In his essay, “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature,” Christopher Myers speaks out against the trend of allowing members of certain racial groups to go unseen because of the color of their skin.

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The Academic Writing Debate

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At the end of last month, Nicholas Kristof published a piece in the New York Times calling for academics to come out from their insular bubble and participate in the mainstream conversation—especially with respect to writing. Joshua Rothman responded in the New Yorker that academic writing is only as “knotty and strange, remote and insular, technical and specialized, forbidding and clannish” as the academy itself.

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Mark Twain Still Popular…In China!

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Did you know that Mark Twain is one of the best known foreign writers in China? Neither did we. There is a well earned, and unabashed image of Mark Twain as the quintessential American author and for good reason. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remains in the American cannon and is taught all over the country however it was a lesser known story of his that has him being taught along side of Mao Zedong.

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“Pop,” “Soda,” or “Heaven Bubbles”?

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You’ve probably seen this regional-dialect quiz from the New York Times making the rounds on your social networks. You answer questions about your vocabulary and pronunciation, and it tries to determine where in the United States you’re from.

But the New Yorker‘s Shouts & Murmurs blog is really upping the ante with their own dialect quiz, which asks questions like “What do you call sweetened carbonated beverages?” Do you use “soda,” “pop,” or “Coke”?

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Bad News for Journalism

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The shape of journalism has been changing rapidly in the past several years, but it still comes as a shock to hear that a media company as dominant as Time Inc. is bulldozing the barrier between business and news.

According to the New York Times, “the newsroom staffs at Time Inc.’s magazines will report to the business executives.

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Cabbie Poetry

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“Tip the waitress or barman well, ‘cause you’re going to need their toilet.”

Taxi drivers made strides this year at the PEN World Voices Festival.

For a handful of weeks, a group of long-standing New York City taxi drivers have been meeting to poetically reflect on their adventures shuttling passengers throughout the boroughs.

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Monomania: Why Writing All By Your Lonesome Kind of Sucks

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Over at the New York Times “Draft” blog, Benjamin Nugent, author of Good Kids, breaks down the romantic notion that locking yourself away in the “primeval hush of the Midwest” is a certified boon to your writing.

Instead, Nugent discusses the “Victorian foil” of monomania and the way that too much alone time can actually be detrimental to the creative process:

Writing a book consists largely of avoiding distractions.

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Storm-Torn Relics

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“That red convertible we were so proud of looks as though it is about to be struck by a meteor. And every moment — the prom, the dance recital, the snowman’s construction — is painted now with bright yellows and rich reds and burnt oranges, the colors of our storm-tossed autumn.”

Sandy has curated a photography exhibition on New Dorp Beach in Staten Island.

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The Endless Hustle

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“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”

At The New York Times, Tim Kreider laments the busy trap of 21st century America and advocates for idleness.

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Make-or-Break

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Constance Hale’s New York Times series of writing lessons continues with wisdom on verbs.

“Verbs kick-start sentences: Without them, words would simply cluster together in suspended animation. We often call them action words, but verbs also can carry sentiments (love, fear, lust, disgust), hint at cognition (realize, know, recognize), bend ideas together (falsify, prove, hypothesize), assert possession (own, have) and conjure existence itself (is, are).”

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