Edited by Yuka Igarashi, “Granta 127: Japan” boasts a fine pedigree: its contributors include recent Akutagawa Prize winner Hiroko Oyamada alongside various doyens of the contemporary Japanese literature scene, among them Hiromi Kawakami, Tomoyuki Hoshino and Toshiki Okada. And if those names don’t ring any bells (some are appearing in English translation for the first time), the international contingent — featuring David Mitchell, Ruth Ozeki, Adam Johnson, David Peace and more — probably will.
To date, 69 writers have been inducted into the state’s literary hall of fame, the South Carolina Academy of Authors. You may have heard some of these names before: Pat Conroy, Sue Monk Kidd, Ron Rash, George Singleton. But many more writers either died in obscurity, wrote under pen names or have simply been forgotten over the years.
The Academy will induct four more writers in a ceremony Saturday at Furman University. To get in the spirit, consider the works of these past inductees to add to your to-read list.
Author Linn Ulmann makes the case for the importance of here in "Something happened here."
Linn Ulmann spent her childhood trailing her famous parents as they traveled the world. As the daughter of director Ingmar Bergman and the actress Liv Ullmann, two legends of 20th-century cinema, her “home” shifted time and again. The one constant was a Swedish island, Fårö, where she returned each summer to visit her father.
Now, she’s fascinated by the way our surroundings shape us. In her interview for this series, the author of The Cold Song used a short story by Alice Munro to illustrate the way setting drives her writing, and how place and memory help dictate the stories we tell.
UW Today Doug Underwood scouts border between fiction, journalism in new book
Doug Underwood is a University of Washington professor of communication. He answered a few questions about his latest book, “The Undeclared War between Fiction and Journalism: Journalists as Genre Benders in Literary History.”
But as revealed in a conversation between Ecopsychologist Lori Pye and Depth Psychologist Ginette Paris, the idea of Nature as Mother is a deep-seated complex, rooted in the human subconscious and creating the despair felt by so many. Ginette describes the Mother Complex as “Mother projected onto nature as an infinite resource, a boundless safety net.”
Opponents to deep, immersive reading come from all directions. Among American boys, there remains a generations-old sense that books are for sissies; I remember this from my own childhood. For neoliberals and technocrats, reading novels is not “what the market wants.” Concentrated reading doesn’t require ideological opposition to be endangered: The pace of contemporary life, even for children, means that there’s simply no time or energy left for it.
'Updike' explores how reality inspires fiction Stevenspointjournal
Ultimately, Updike's own life is not as interesting - or knowable - as the inner life of many of his characters. The more I read about Updike, the more I wanted to go back and read Updike. As Begley writes, "The great stack of books Updike left behind is the monument that matters most."
Washington University in St. Louis News Vertical Seminar in the Humanities gives professors, students new analysis tools
Technology is revolutionizing more than just how we shop, communicate and entertain ourselves. It is also changing how humanists analyze texts in a growing field called the digital humanities.
Now, scholars of literature and history can take thousands of digitized texts and use a variety of computational tools to engage in what some have called distant reading, a supplement to the close analyses that long have formed the basis of literary criticism or historical inquiry.
OPB News In 'Every Day Is For The Thief,' Cole Chronicles A City's Reality
And maybe, really, this isn’t a novel at all. Maybe it is a collection of fiction. I generally don’t understand it when a writer says “the town is a character” in his or her book. But in the case of Every Day is For the Thief, Lagos has been injected with more character than the narrator, who prefers not to call attention to himself, but instead to slip along, practically unnoticed, and take poignant snapshots of the strange and singular city around him. The separate sections of this book don’t read like chapters, exactly, and they don’t gather force, though they are consistently engaging and interesting.
The Guardian John Mullan on The Redbreast – Guardian book club
Once upon a time, you could rely on a fictional detective to return the world to intelligibility. He or she explained everything in the book that had perplexed the reader. Detective fiction presented us with unconnected events and gave us someone who could turn them into a coherent narrative. Many writers within the genre have wanted to undermine this reassurance without abandoning the closure that has always been part of the contract with the reader. Jo Nesbø's The Redbreast still relies on a decent, clever, hard-bitten detective, Harry Hole, who will get to the bottom of the crimes he confronts. Thus far, it is conventional. Yet it puts him within a narrative structure that emphasises his incomplete or belated understanding.
Nesbø's novel is built from multiple viewpoints and frequent time shifts, with the reader made constantly aware of the partial nature of the detective's knowledge. In the most extreme examples of the reader knowing more than the investigator, we twice experience the death of a character, who is being murdered, from his or her point of view. The reader understands the terror of the moment and knows the identity of the killer; Harry comes along afterwards to investigate an inert crime scene.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
Analysis of point of view and narrative structure in a detective novel by Jo Nesbø
The identity paradox: why game characters are not us, but should be HITC
Every fictional character exists in a contested zone between author intention and audience interpretation; but in games, the position is much closer to the latter party. Interactivity gives us ownership over the experience in a way that reading words on a page or watching a movie does not. In novels and in film, we have a little wriggle room in terms of how we perceive what is going on, and what we think it means; but in games, perception and meaning are subordinate to the act of taking the controller and actually doing. The gamer's sense of self over-powers and often eradicates the fictional character.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
Some provoking thoughts on point of view, identification with characters, and how video games differ from literature and film.
McGinnis: The Path of the Righteous Man? Reflecting on 'Pulp Fiction' 20 years later
“Pulp Fiction” was released in late 1994, nearly 20 years ago now. A generation of kids has been born who have never known a world before Quentin Tarantino exploded his pipe bomb of a motion picture in the face of a stale, complacent Hollywood. Naturally, someone born after that could be nearly of drinking age by now.
Yet the idea still reels me. Has it really been so long? This isn’t merely a matter of me losing any sense if time, I don’t think — there are movies that have been released in the years since that feel every bit their age and then some. But “Pulp” still feels modern, vibrant, alive in a way few movies can. It’s one of the rare titles that stands outside its era, so crucial was its influence. It drew from and illuminated films of the past and forged a path for what movies could be in the future. “Pulp Fiction” was a one-film revolution.
Edward Hirsch on the 'soul-making activity' of poetry
Washington Post (blog)
Hirsch said that he was still trying to figure out how to talk about “Gabriel,” a wrenching 80-page poem about the troubled life of the boy he adopted as a baby. At one point in the poem, Hirsch says, “I’m scared of rounding him up/ And turning him into a story.”
Written as a series of three-line stanzas, without punctuation, “Gabriel” describes the boy’s medical and psychological challenges, his impulsiveness and his generosity, and his parents’ tireless efforts to find him effective treatment. He died of a drug overdose in 2011.
'Talking to Ourselves' an Affecting Examination of Death Harvard Crimson
“Talking To Ourselves” takes a remarkably long time to read for a 150-page novel. At first glance, Andrés Neuman’s follow-up to his acclaimed epic “Traveler of the Century” has an easily navigable structure: it follows the brief and concurrent monologues of a mother (Elena), father (Mario), and son (Lito) as they experience Mario’s illness at the hands of an aggressive cancer. Yet Neuman, who crafts a different form of interior communication for each character—writing for Elena, voice recording for Mario, and thought for Lito—captures the cadences and mental progressions of his characters so accurately that it is necessary to read the book at the same pace one would hear speech. Each character is astonishingly consistent and life-like. Elena’s writings, buoyed by her knowledge of literature, are erratic and gorgeous ruminations on the confusing facets of illness. Her husband’s tape recordings to his son are heartbreaking and unsettlingly honest. And 10 year-old Lito’s thoughts are full of an innocence and sense of wonder that creates an inevitable yearning for youth. Neuman ties together his characters’ thoughts with an effective and chronologically elastic narrative, which magnifies the already staggering emotional and technical depth of his unforgettable “Talking to Ourselves.”
Mentally ill in literature University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily
Some of the most memorable characters in classic American literature suffer from severe mental illness — Benjy Compson, Edna Pontellier, Holden Caulfield and Lennie Small. In a way, their illnesses give them a certain charm and realism which more stereotypical stock characters tend to lack. However, it raises questions about what the use of mental illness as a plot point says about American society and readers’ treatment of mental illness.
The portrayal of mental illness in the arts plays a substantial role in how society views it, as literature often reflects the values of its time. In the above four examples, each takes on a different mental illness and represents it in a distinct light.
Literary legacy contributes to sense of community Arizona Daily Star
Harold Bell Wright was among the most popular American authors of his time, penning 19 novels — with 15 of them making their way to the silver screen.'
In 1930, The New York Times called Wright “the narrator of the hopes and dreams of the great mass of American readers from New York to California.”
Many of those hopes and dreams came to life on the pages of books Wright wrote from the beloved desert home he built, eight miles east of downtown Tucson. Constructed in the early 1920s, Wright made Tucson his home until signs of encroaching development caused him to flee to California in 1936.
4 songs you had no idea were inspired by Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s monumental influence in Latin America and the world wasn’t confined to literature. His words and the lives of his characters were also the driving forces behind several iconic songs about love and loss.
Artists from Colombian diva Shakira, to Cuban crooner Silvio Rodriguez to Spanish rocker Joaquin Sabina all penned verses inspired by the Colombian writer known fondly as Gabo and his vast cast of characters from novels such as “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
Rage Against the Machine: A Brief History of Evil Movie Computers
Nor does Hollywood miss a moment to skewer the technological future in the name of entertainment. Transcendence adds another notch to the legacy of "Evil Computer" movies, a 2.0 sub-genre that's made room for sci-fi handwringers and paranoid thrillers while clinging to Frankenstein's brand of pseudo-science. The advent of computers in the '50s and '60s opened new doors for the technophobes and offered a great unknown within our reach. That made it terrifying, and more importantly for filmmakers, real.
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