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Norman Mailer Biography Reveals His First Love And Thoughts On Pearl Harbor - Huffington Post

Norman Mailer Biography Reveals His First Love And Thoughts On Pearl Harbor - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Norman Mailer Biography Reveals His First Love And Thoughts On Pearl Harbor
Huffington Post

 

The following is an excerpt from "Norman Mailer: A Double Life" by J. Michael Lennon [Simon & Schuster, $40.00]

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Tóibín's Booker-listed novel throws down a gauntlet to our method of reasoning - Irish Times

Tóibín's Booker-listed novel throws down a gauntlet to our method of reasoning - Irish Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Tóibín's Booker-listed novel throws down a gauntlet to our method of reasoning
Irish Times

 

I believe it important that Colm Tóibín wins the Man Booker Prize next Wednesday for his novella The Testament of Mary. I don’t just mean “important for Colm Tóibín”, although he certainly deserves it, having featured as Booker bridesmaid several times. I don’t mean “important for Irish literature”, being unsure there is such a thing any more. I mean important for Ireland and Irish culture, because if it wins, we may be unable to continue ignoring, as we have done, what the book demands we address.

. . .

This is what makes The Testament of Mary so bracingly real. It is, in effect, an anti-Gospel, treating of a story most of us have grown up with in a way that might be disturbing, shocking, even scandalous. I find myself flirting with the word “blasphemous”, but with the sole intention of attracting attention to the gravity of the book for Irish culture and civilisation.

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Salinas' Steinbeck Center: A lover of words on display - Sacramento Bee

Salinas' Steinbeck Center: A lover of words on display - Sacramento Bee | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Salinas' Steinbeck Center: A lover of words on display

Sacramento Bee

 

The museum’s centerpiece, as well as the centerpiece of controversy in Steinbeck’s career, is “The Grapes of Wrath,” his magnum opus about migrant farmworkers forced by the Dust Bowl to come to California seeking a better life but finding little but alienation and hardship. Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the novel’s publication and a group of writers, artists and musicians commissioned by the museum is now retracing the steps of the Joad family along Route 66 and will create multimedia works that will culminate in May’s Steinbeck Festival.

 

The “Grapes” wing, justifiably the largest in the center, begins not with the novel but rather a look at the Dust Bowl and the conditions that led to the migration that Steinbeck chronicled, first in nonfiction and then in the novel. The black-and-white photos from the era set the somber mood, and Steinbeck’s letters to a friend while touring the migrant camps are telling: “I don’t know if you know what a bomb California is right now or not. I can only assure you that it is highly explosive. I want to see it all and hear it all.”


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/13/5815270/salinas-steinbeck-center-a-lover.html#storylink=cpy
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Are Video Games the New Novels? - The American Conservative

Are Video Games the New Novels? - The American Conservative | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The American Conservative
Are Video Games the New Novels?

 

Much of the engagement required by literature derives from its minimalism. There are no visual or sound effects in literature. The imagination must work overtime, and the reader must enter a contemplative state in which subtleties become essential to understanding the narrative and the characters’ role in it. Video games might function very well as entertainment, but because of their dependence on sensory overload, they cannot fill the quiet space of the novel, and they cannot inspire the same contemplation.

 

Novels are best for minds that enjoy quiet, serious, or at least sustained, thought, and the independent exercise of the imagination. Video games are made for those who seek sensory bombardment, moving quickly from one place and action to the next. In other words, the mind of a child.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

David Masciotra laments the infantilization of American culture.

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Building Empathy: A Surprising Reading List For A Better Work Life - AOL Jobs

Building Empathy: A Surprising Reading List For A Better Work Life - AOL Jobs | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Building Empathy: A Surprising Reading List For A Better Work Life
AOL Jobs
In a recent study, the social psychologists found that reading literary fiction helps readers more readily connect and empathize with their fellow humans.

 

With the help of experts, AOL Jobs has compiled a suggested reading list containing books that are great starters for people looking to improve relationships in their day-to-day work life and, by extension, bolster their overall well being. If you get through this list and find that you have an appetite for more, we suggest joining a book club or checking out the titles that made Oprah Winfrey's Complete List.

Remember: this list is not intended to change you into an interviewing guru or a social butterfly -- it's all about shifting your perspective.

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Amherst College Acquires Rare Native Book Collection - Indian Country Today Media Network

Amherst College Acquires Rare Native Book Collection - Indian Country Today Media Network | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Amherst College Acquires Rare Native Book Collection

Indian Country Today Media Network

 

“This collection is significant because it is a collection of works written by Native Americans,” College Librarian Bryn Geffert said in a story about the collection. “It presents a unique opportunity for Native American Studies scholars here at Amherst and elsewhere to mine the most complete collection ever compiled by a single collector.”

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Looking Through Orwell - American Spectator

Looking Through Orwell - American Spectator | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
American Spectator

Looking Through Orwell

 

HOW MUCH OF the real George Orwell can be found in this new collection of letters is an open question. “Good prose,” he once wrote, “is like a window pane.” The good writer, he told us, will strive mightily to efface all artifice from any piece of writing, leaving behind only his gleaming sentences and the thoughts and images of which they are the direct and flawless expression. 

 

Since it first appeared, in the essay “Why I Write” in 1946, this line of Orwell’s has been quoted so often we can easily forget that it is false. Even the truest writing is artificial, as Orwell knew, because writing is unnatural. Some sentences will be more honest than other sentences, it’s true, and they will be well-intentioned or not, to one degree or another, but none of them will be transparent. Head doctors tell us we can’t glance in a mirror without some adjustment of the facial muscles, or walk onto a stage without a change in posture or gait, no matter how infinitesimal or sly. Something similar happens when we take pen in hand or huddle in front of the keyboard. Nobody transfers himself whole and natural and naked to the page to be gazed upon by friends and strangers through the glass.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Commentary sparked by George Orwell: A Life in Letters, Selected and Annotated by Peter Davison (Norton, 542 pages, $35)

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American adults have low (and declining) reading proficiency - Los Angeles Times

American adults have low (and declining) reading proficiency - Los Angeles Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
American adults have low (and declining) reading proficiency

Los Angeles Times

 

“It's long been known that America's school kids haven't measured well compared with international peers,” the Associated Press wrote in a survey of the study. “Now, there's a new twist: Adults don't either.” And it appears students who leave high school without certain basic skills are not learning those skills later in adult education or job training programs.

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The Twisted Tales of Lore Segal: The Author Speaks Up About Getting Older ... - New York Observer

The Twisted Tales of Lore Segal: The Author Speaks Up About Getting Older ... - New York Observer | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Twisted Tales of Lore Segal: The Author Speaks Up About Getting Older ...
New York Observer

 

Ms. Segal’s fifth book in a career that has spanned across five decades is called Half the Kingdom. It begins at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in New York where all the patients over the age of 62 have suddenly developed dementia; Joe Bernstine of the Concordance Institute has been tasked with figuring out why. The narrative jumps between dozens of characters that shuffle in and out, many of which appear in Ms. Segal’s earlier fiction. She has always toyed with the contradictions and overlaps of the banal and the fantastical, and here is its culmination: a fairy tale about the elderly. Ms. Segal’s writing deconstructs the very idea of aging and never shies from the embarrassment that comes with trying to fit in or bearing disappointment. Her career has been a half-century struggle with the conventions of language and the humor inherent in pain, a long meta-commentary on the role of the author herself.

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Lois Duncan on reaching a new generation of teen readers - Los Angeles Times

Lois Duncan on reaching a new generation of teen readers - Los Angeles Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Lois Duncan on reaching a new generation of teen readers

Los Angeles Times

 

Social things have changed, but the thing that has not changed has been human nature. All the emotions young people felt then they feel today. The social interactions, the competition and ostracizing of people, they’re all still there in the teenage life.  Young women want to be loved, they want to be appreciated, find what they want in the world. Girls today are having a more difficult time with the demands upon them, with a career and a family and competing with men.

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Our Ongoing Love Affair With Zombies (or, Why Do We Love The Walking Dead ... - Huffington Post

Our Ongoing Love Affair With Zombies (or, Why Do We Love The Walking Dead ... - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Our Ongoing Love Affair With Zombies (or, Why Do We Love The Walking Dead ...

 

The Walking Dead is more than a television show. It's a cinematic phenomenon, with the 3rd Season Finale watched by some 12.4 million viewers, most of them in the 18-49 demographic. But the question we have to ask ourselves is "Why?" Why are we so captivated with rotting flesh shuffling aimlessly about, empowered by an irresistible urge to consume humanity and its brains? Why is that so appealing? Is there something wrong with us? Why do we love zombies so much? Is it merely an offshoot of our enduring obsession with horror-related media (movies, games, TV)? Eh, I don't think so. Not totally, anyway. Though there is no short supply of fans of the horror genre, I'm not convinced it's these aficionados alone who have fueled the meteoric rise of TWD to the top of the TV food chain. A contributing factor? Sure. But "the" reason? Probably not. No, there has to be a more substantial explanation.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I am apparently the only person in the entire world who still wants nothing to do with all these zombies.

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A mosaic resurrected - The Hindu

A mosaic resurrected - The Hindu | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
A mosaic resurrected
The Hindu

 

Those like Laura are the outsiders who seem to be more taken in by the romance of the place but soon become aware of the mental turbulence lingering beneath the quiet surface. The psychological conflict resulting from a disturbed past is here turned into the ‘truth’ about the nightmare of history that haunts the survivors: ‘Grudges are reckoned. Greed grows. People denounce their neighbours to the new authorities with an eye on their freezers and televisions.’

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Literary Fiction Helps Us Read People - Pacific Standard (blog)

Literary Fiction Helps Us Read People - Pacific Standard (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Literary Fiction Helps Us Read People

Pacific Standard (blog)

 

“Whereas many of our mundane social experiences may be scripted by convention and informed by stereotypes, those presented in literary fiction often disrupt our expectations,” Kidd and Castano write. “Readers of literary fiction must draw on more flexible interpretive resources to infer the feelings and thoughts of characters.”

 

In honing that ability to draw insights from subtle clues, literature “may function to promote and refine interpersonal sensitivity throughout our lives,” they write. This aligns nicely with previous research that suggests reading literary fiction makes us more tolerant of ambiguity.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A report on scientific findings published in the journal "Science"

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Books: Sophie Hannah to write new 'Agatha Christie' novel - Richmond Times Dispatch

Books: Sophie Hannah to write new 'Agatha Christie' novel - Richmond Times Dispatch | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Books: Sophie Hannah to write new 'Agatha Christie' novel
Richmond Times Dispatch

 

Here’s one mystery solved: Sophie Hannah is the crime writer given the formidable and most likely lucrative task of reviving Agatha Christie’s famed detective, Hercule Poirot, in a new novel.

 

The joint venture involving Hannah, HarperCollins publishers and Christie’s descendants means that Hannah will write the first family-authorized sequel to the works that made Christie, who died in 1976, the best-selling novelist in history, with more than 2 billion copies sold.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Read what Sophie Hannah has to say about undertaking the formidable task of following Agatha Christie.

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Donna Tartt: the slow-burn literary giant - The Guardian

Donna Tartt: the slow-burn literary giant - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Guardian

Donna Tartt: the slow-burn literary giant

 

One shock was that The Secret History proved a rare occasion of a novel justifying its hype: technically precise, Victorian in its scope but very much of its moment – a perfectly pitched murder story that captured the thrill-seeking decadence of her liberal-elitist Bennington generation. . . .

She had, admittedly, come replete with enough semi-mythical contradictions to fill any publisher's blurb. She was a hard-drinking southerner who lived alone with her cockatiel and her pug; she bought her clothes from Gap kids, yet she could recite great swaths of poetry and even short stories by heart – TS Eliot and Edgar Allen Poe mostly; she was a Catholic convert apparently sworn to celibacy, with a taste for repressed gothic ghost stories; a one-time sorority girl at Ole Miss University who wrote all night every night. Her brand was completed with a most memorable author photo, perfectly bobbed and manicured in a wintry graveyard.

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Amparo Ferrando's curator insight, October 14, 2013 6:26 AM

From "The Secret" until now...

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This 848-Page Novel Is Arranged Around the Signs of the Zodiac. It Totally Works. - Slate Magazine

This 848-Page Novel Is Arranged Around the Signs of the Zodiac. It Totally Works. - Slate Magazine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Slate Magazine
This 848-Page Novel Is Arranged Around the Signs of the Zodiac. It Totally Works.

 

Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, an 848-page novel currently favored for the Man Booker prize, . . . is, among other things, an experiment in predetermination. By extinguishing every coincidence, it turns literature into the same kind of problem as astrology: Do we want structural interpretation to dictate narrative, or is it best when a story’s structure, as one character puts it, “always changes in the telling”?

 

One way to read Catton’s novel is as kind of antipodean crossword, in which the clues lead one not to a filling-in of blanks but to the erasure of content—so the solution is little more than the grid into which everything fit. Each of the novel’s 12 sections begins with an astrological chart for the date and location of its setting, which dictates what and how events will unfold. A “Character Chart” at the front of the book indicates 12 “stellar” characters, each associated with a sign of the zodiac and a location representing one of the astrological houses. These determine both the character’s destiny and his personal characteristics.

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Wilbur Smith: I saw all the movies of my books but I didn't like them - Radio Times

Radio Times

Wilbur Smith: I saw all the movies of my books but I didn't like them

 

"The characters in my books were people that I lived with over a long period of time and developed them and their families so I don’t think that anyone else on a screen or attempting to draw them, for instance, will get it exactly to what I saw and what I feel about it. They are like my children and all of us in our own children can see things that other people can’t – believe they’re better or worse than other people think they are – so that’s the same with my characters. No-one can put on the screen what I imagined in my head."

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English Lit Scholars: Poetry Acts Like Music In Their Brains - Science 2.0

English Lit Scholars: Poetry Acts Like Music In Their Brains - Science 2.0 | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
English Lit Scholars: Poetry Acts Like Music In Their Brains
Science 2.0

 

A group at the University of Exeter used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology on the brains of 13 volunteers, all faculty members and graduate students in English at the school, to see how they respond to poetry and prose - and then declared that "scientists prove" poetry is like music to the mind.

 

The upcoming results in the Journal of Consciousness Studies found a "reading network" of brain areas was activated in response to any written material and also that more emotionally charged writing aroused several of the regions in the brain which respond to music.

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Alice McDermott invokes a voice little heard in life or literature for 'Someone' - PBS NewsHour

Alice McDermott invokes a voice little heard in life or literature for 'Someone' - PBS NewsHour | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Alice McDermott invokes a voice little heard in life or literature for 'Someone'

PBS NewsHour

 

ALICE MCDERMOTT: My parents were both first-generation Irish Catholics raised in Brooklyn. But it was more for me -- it was that women of that generation were even less likely to express themselves, more likely to have that active interior life that they didn't dare speak out.

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Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Ms. Munro, a Canadian author, was honored for work that explores the relationships between men and women, small-town existence and the fallibility of memory.
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“The Red Book”: A Primer For Healing Madness In A Mad World - Social Justice Solutions

“The Red Book”: A Primer For Healing Madness In A Mad World - Social Justice Solutions | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Social Justice Solutions
“The Red Book”: A Primer For Healing Madness In A Mad World

 

Through his meticulous design of The Red Book, CG Jung interwove his experience of madness with the collective suffering of his era. Such syntheses are rare — and just what the current mental health field desperately needs. In what follows, I look at how The Red Book became Jung’s journey out of madness as well as the foundation for his analytical psychology. Even today, over 50 years after his death, Jung’s analytical psychology is a relevant, non-pathologizing method for transcending madness, while also relating individual suffering to the larger collective.

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Why Charlotte Bronte Hated Jane Austen - Daily Beast

Why Charlotte Bronte Hated Jane Austen - Daily Beast | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Daily Beast
Why Charlotte Bronte Hated Jane Austen

 

For Brontë, something essential was lacking [in the works of Jane Austen], an element she later called “what throbs fast, full, though hidden, what the blood rushes through.” This, of course, is the heart. Brontë resented Lewes’s praise of Jane Austen’s fiction because she interpreted his admiration for Austen as a requirement that an author, to be worthy of esteem, must eliminate the life beneath the surface, the full-blooded life of experience, including the dark experience of passionate love, while privileging the carefully worked appearance of social arrangements she saw in Austen. “The Passions are perfectly unknown to her,” Brontë concluded in a letter of 1850. In effect, Brontë was accusing Austen of being superficial, not truthful, about passion, in spite of Austen’s growing reputation as a social realist.

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Edgar Allan Poe Was More Than a "Freak" and a "Drunk" - The New Republic

Edgar Allan Poe Was More Than a "Freak" and a "Drunk" - The New Republic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Edgar Allan Poe Was More Than a "Freak" and a "Drunk"
The New Republic

 

"Poe's mentality was a rare synthesis," writes Mr. Padraic Colum. "He had elements in him that corresponded with the indefiniteness of music and the exactitude of mathematics." Is not this precisely what modern literature tends toward? Poe was the bridge over the middle nineteenth century from romanticism to symbolism; and symbolism, as M. Seylaz says, though scarcely any of its accredited exponents survive, now permeates literature. We must not, however, expect Poe to be admired, in his capacity of suspension across this chasm, on the part of American writers who do not know that either bank exists.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

The literary importance of Edgar Allan Poe

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Slashed Reads's curator insight, October 12, 2013 5:13 PM

An odd little man but a genuis too, Poe's writing are timeless. Download over 100 of his works for just $0.99.  http://slashedreads.com/edgar-allan-poe-complete-tales-poems/

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The Thirtysomething Teen: An Adult YA Addict Comes Clean - Vulture

The Thirtysomething Teen: An Adult YA Addict Comes Clean - Vulture | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Thirtysomething Teen: An Adult YA Addict Comes Clean
Vulture

 

There’s a kind of forward momentum, too, enabled by reading about characters for whom lives are still blank slates ready to be filled, compared to our own. We can measure ourselves against their choices and see how we succeeded; we can feel wiser than they are, knowing that what we did then turned out okay; we can also see for ourselves where there might still be room to improve. As dire as the situations may be—the worlds of these characters contain creatures bent on destroying them, untrustworthy adults, grave injustices, unrequited or deeply problematic love, abuse, bullying, suicide, murder, paralyzing self-­doubt—there is the sense that things have the potential to get better.

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Saccharine Edges - Outlook

Saccharine Edges - Outlook | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Saccharine Edges
Outlook

 

When I first came across the epithet “writer of universal themes”, I jumped out of my skin. Hadn’t literary criticism laid the category to rest decades ago on the grounds that demanding universalism from literatures amounts to gagging marginal and contesting voices? But that outmoded kind of Literature with a capital L seems to be back with a bang with the Booker’s plan of embracing the best in English from “Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai”. The Man Booker is all set to surrender its identity as the bastion of “otherness” and go universal. It was under attack anyway from critics who felt it had been marketing the margins far too flamboyantly and converting every award ceremony into a fashion event by positing exotic show-breakers. Since Rushdie, two Australi­ans, a part Maori, a South African, a woman of Polish descent, an exile from Japan, one Indian and two part-Indians have walked away with the award. And everybody knows that it is only colonials—former and present—who are truly universal.

 

But these Booker developments might be bad news for the universal Brits. Some critics proph­ecy an American takeo­ver of the award. The perfect sentence, the amazing syntax, the brilli­ant image and the exquisite turn of phr­ase—markers of universal­ity—are, after all, taught much better in their elite creative writing sch­ools that, incidentally, have also mopped up all the postcolonial exotics. Lahiri studied in one and ever since writes melancholica­lly of the assi­m­ilation of Beng­ali immigrants into Bostonian suburbia. Universal writers know about the sad inevitabilities of human existence.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

It's good to hear a voice from another perspective.

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