Literature & Psychology
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Margaret Atwood Has Some Frightening Words for Scientists - The New Republic

Margaret Atwood Has Some Frightening Words for Scientists - The New Republic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Margaret Atwood Has Some Frightening Words for Scientists

The New Republic

 

You can’t say what history will deem barbaric unless you feel a punch in the stomach every time you encounter it. This is why it was a novelist, not a statistician, who first sounded the alarm—for me—about a fast-tumbling cascade of changes I hadn’t thought hard about before.

 

The novelist is Margaret Atwood. What she made me think about is bioengineering. She’s not the first to worry about it, goodness knows. You can take your pick of Cassandras: Michael Crichton, Mary Shelley, whoever made Gattaca.

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12 Most Twisted Families in Books - Huffington Post

12 Most Twisted Families in Books - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
12 Most Twisted Families in Books
Huffington Post

 

Authors know that when we read novels we want to get to know extraordinary, even unhinged, characters. The novelists who influence my writing created memorable families that broke societal rules and, in the process, startled, often shocked, readers. These clans are defined by one characteristic: Violence--brutality that is passed down from one generation to the next.

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The Master of the Absurd Turns 100 - Philosophy Now (subscription)

The Master of the Absurd Turns 100 - Philosophy Now (subscription) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Philosophy Now (subscription)
The Master of the Absurd Turns 100

 

November 2013 marks the centennial of the birth of Albert Camus. A native of French Algeria, Camus became an influential wartime journalist before embarking on a creative writing career. He would become a titan of French literature and a leading voice of the existentialist philosophy that dominated the post-WWII intellectual climate in France. Alba Amoia says in her biography that Camus became “the moral conscience of his generation.” Ironically, this spokesman for the absurdity of the human condition came across as a pretty regular guy; in fact, he possessed an easy charm, excelling at endeavors social, athletic or literary. At age 46, when writers often reach the apex of their powers, he died in a car wreck. An Italian newspaper once claimed that the fatal crash was part of a Soviet plot, but Camus himself would likely say that his abrupt death was a random event – one of many in a world without any inherent meaning.

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Movies that push our cognitive limits - Science Codex

Movies that push our cognitive limits
Science Codex

 

Hyperlink films mirror contemporary globalized communities, using exciting cinematic elements and multiple story lines to create the idea of a world that is interconnected on many social levels. However, films in this genre like Crash, Babel, and Love Actually are not as new and innovative as presumed and still conform to conventional social patterns. These findings, by Jaimie Krems of Arizona State University in the US and Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford in the UK, are published in Springer's journal Human Nature.

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Aspen Times Weekly: Strangers, Strangely Familiar - Aspen Times

Aspen Times Weekly: Strangers, Strangely Familiar - Aspen Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Aspen Times Weekly:

Strangers, Strangely Familiar 

 

The characters in Adam Haslett’s books are disconnected, often hopelessly so, and sometimes to desperate extremes, from their families, their communities, their sexuality, their own histories. When they do try to connect, they efforts tend to be awkward and only moderately successful. . . .

 

Yet the writer believes there is a more significant sort of bond being formed with his work. “For me, the question of a sense of connection is between the reader and the book,” Haslett said. The people who populate Haslett’s writing tend not to exit the stories in an upward arc, but the redemption of these characters is not what interests him most. “To me, the question of happy endings doesn’t reside in the outcome of a plot. It resides in the reader’s engagement. It’s a happy ending if the reader is engaged. That’s a goal.”

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10 Impressive Uses of Borrowed Characters in Literature

10 Impressive Uses of Borrowed Characters in Literature | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Kim Newman, whose latest book, Johnny Alucard, is out now, tells us: “In the Anno Dracula series, I’ve made use not only of characters and situations appropriated from Bram Stoker’s novel but a host of other preexisting fictional folk to populate the next-door-but-one world where Dracula defeated Van Helsing and became a dominant power in the 19th and 20th centuries. I didn’t invent this approach – in the wholesale borrowing of other authors’ creations, I was mostly inspired by Philip José Farmer’s interlocked series of books and stories which did something similar. Here are my favorite ten novels built around other novels.”

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A brief history of conspiracy theories - The Week Magazine

A brief history of conspiracy theories - The Week Magazine | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Week Magazine

A brief history of conspiracy theories

 

Throughout our history, Americans have been sure someone was plotting against us

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Salinger would have hated “Salinger” - Salon

Salinger would have hated “Salinger” - Salon | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Salon

Salinger would have hated “Salinger”

 

Shields is a fiction writer of considerable talent and sensitivity himself: how he could take the blunt scalpels of his sometimes harebrained psychological insight and rip into Salinger’s work like this is alarming — it amounts to a savage and somehow revengeful disembowelment of a writer that surely says more about Shields than it does about Salinger.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Commentary of the “official book of the acclaimed documentary film” Salinger, compiled and edited by [Shane] Salerno and David Shields.

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Why GR's new review rules are censorship - Some thoughts by Emma Sea

Why GR's new review rules are censorship - Some thoughts by Emma Sea | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Late Friday (US time) Goodreads announced a change in review and shelving policy, and immediately started deleting readers' reviews and shelves. In doing this they became censors. Limiting readers' ability to discuss the cultural context of a book is censorship designed to promote authors' interests.

 

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

There's quite a debate going on over on Goodreads. See this article and all the comments. At the root of the discussion is the question of what a book review really is and what it should---and shouldn't---contain. Food for thought for all readers.

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The Heightened Sensitivity of Romance Readers - Pacific Standard (blog)

The Heightened Sensitivity of Romance Readers - Pacific Standard (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The Heightened Sensitivity of Romance Readers

Pacific Standard (blog)

 

In the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, a York University research team led by psychologist Katrina Fong describes an experiment comparing the interpersonal sensitivity of readers of various literary genres. The 328 participants were all university undergraduates; 258 of them were women.

. . .

The results: People who read more fiction (or at least recognized the names of fiction writers) were more likely to pick the correct emotion than those who preferred non-fiction. But once the researchers took into account a series of factors, including age, gender, and the degree to which they embodied the personality dimension of openness (as determined in a separate survey), only the romance genre predicted this sort of sensitivity.

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Online Book Clubs: Talk That Stays on the Page - New York Times

Online Book Clubs: Talk That Stays on the Page - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
New York Times

Online Book Clubs: Talk That Stays on the Page 

 

For Eileen Mendell of Ventnor, N.J., book club meetings frequently resemble explosive family counseling sessions where every infraction becomes indicative of a deep...

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Judy Abel discusses experiences, hers and others', with both in-person and online book clubs. My own experiences with in-person book clubs have been quite different from those she discusses here. I've been a long-time member of two book clubs that have been pure delights.

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Interview with psychological thriller author Dr. Mark Rubenstein - Examiner.com

Interview with psychological thriller author Dr. Mark Rubenstein - Examiner.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Interview with psychological thriller author Dr. Mark Rubenstein
Examiner.com

 

Dr. Mark Rubenstein is a former forensic and clinical psychologist who writes novels that are about potentially real situations. For this interview, he said, “A very important thing about me as a writer is the fact that my goal is to tell a story about people and situations that are within the realm of possibility, not paranormal events. The most frightening and challenging things in life are those that can really happen.” His most recent psychological thriller is “Love Gone Mad” (www.lovegonemadthebook.com).

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Film-maker's foray into fiction marks a digital breakthrough - Irish Times

Film-maker's foray into fiction marks a digital breakthrough - Irish Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Film-maker's foray into fiction marks a digital breakthrough
Irish Times

 

The penultimate part, The Kill, is the most challenging and self-consciously literary of the books. House brings his story to Europe so that he can indulge his taste for metafiction and the avant-garde. It is, essentially, the crime novel that Sutler reads in the first instalment.

It is the portion of the book that likely ensured House’s Booker nomination and will likely lose him the most readers. House plays with form too in the digital format of this part of the book, allowing digital readers to choose how to read it – in chronological sequence or character by character – but it is still a slog.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Sara Keating discusses the ebook edition of Richard House’s "The Kills," which recently was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

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School Board Reverses Ban on Ellison's 'Invisible Man' - The Atlantic Wire

School Board Reverses Ban on Ellison's 'Invisible Man' - The Atlantic Wire | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Atlantic Wire
School Board Reverses Ban on Ellison's 'Invisible Man'
Brian Feldman 1:38 AM ET.

 

The Randolph County school board in North Carolina has rescinded its ban on Ralph Ellison's highly revered Invisible Man following a little over a week of intense criticism from free speech and literary advocates. The 5-2 decision, initially sparked by a parent's complaint that the book was not appropriate for teenagers, was reversed in a 6-1 vote on Wednesday night. The ban had been widely criticized and ridiculed since it went into effect on September 16, and was highly protested, even including a giveaway of the book at a local store.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Some good news for the end of Banned Books Week: Sometimes the good guys win.

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Someone to Watch Over Me: Hungary's Greatest Novelist Trades In Opression ... - New York Observer

Someone to Watch Over Me: Hungary's Greatest Novelist Trades In Opression ... - New York Observer | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Someone to Watch Over Me: Hungary's Greatest Novelist Trades In Opression ...
New York Observer

 

It might not be time to write a requiem for postmodern literature just yet, but it probably isn’t too early to wish it well as it heads off to South Florida to spend its golden years playing shuffleboard and complaining about the rising cost of grapefruit. Both a reaction to as well as a derivative of modernism, which saw writers trying to make sense of the rapidly changing world between the World Wars, postmodernism has advanced, as it were, to the point where one-time wunderkinds like Paul Auster have settled on simply writing memoirs about the hell that is old age. There is still some life left in the minor late-period works of Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon, authors indelibly tied to the nebulous term, but Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai is truly the last of the great postmodern writers that grew up in the shadow of World War II. His latest novel, Seiobo There Below—his seventh available in English and available now in a new translation—is a send up of postmodernism’s systemic critique of progress and also something altogether blissful. Coming from a man famously labeled “the contemporary Hungarian master of the apocalypse” (his books carry this phrase on their covers like a badge), this is no small departure.

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Fiction So Popular, It's Criminal: The Rise of the Crime Novel in Africa | Think Africa Press

Fiction So Popular, It's Criminal: The Rise of the Crime Novel in Africa | Think Africa Press | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

From corrupt detectives to questions of morality, the appetite for crime fiction is only growing across Africa – but these page-turners can do more than just entertain.

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From Sherlock Holmes to Broadchurch: why do we love a good murder? - Radio Times

Radio Times
From Sherlock Holmes to Broadchurch: why do we love a good murder?
Radio Times

 

Why do we love a good murder? “Any night of the week, you’ll turn on the TV and see someone being horribly murdered,” says historian Lucy Worsley, who’s been tuning into dastardly deeds for her new series A Very British Murder. “I don’t want to trivialise the subject, but I’m fascinated by how society takes pleasure in crime, probably in a way that makes us feel a bit guilty.

 

“In a way, it’s a product of being civilised. Popular obsession with murder really only starts with the industrial revolution, with people coming in from the country to live in cities where they don’t know their neighbours. Before that, working people worried about famine or disease or being press-ganged into the navy. But by the time the late Georgians are living in cities, they can afford to worry about less likely things, such as being murdered. And that preoccupation has continued to the present day.”

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Censorship and Invisibility: A Boomer Perspective - Huffington Post

Censorship and Invisibility: A Boomer Perspective - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
ABC News
Censorship and Invisibility: A Boomer Perspective
Huffington Post
In 2010, volunteers with the Iowa City Public Library marched in the University of Iowa Homecoming Parade dressed as characters from their favorite banned books.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

A good article on Banned Books Week, September 22-28

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All the lit that's 'unfit' to print

All the lit that's 'unfit' to print | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

To mark Banned Books Week, James Kidd traces the history of literary censorship from ancient Rome to modern China, from lawsuits to public burnings

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Famous Gothic Horror Characters Come to TV in Penny Dreadful - Cinelinx

Famous Gothic Horror Characters Come to TV in Penny Dreadful - Cinelinx | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Famous Gothic Horror Characters Come to TV in Penny Dreadful
Cinelinx

 

Now that Dexter has finished its run, Showtime is replacing it with another creepy series. Instead of a serial killer, this one will feature well-known figures from gothic literature, including Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster.

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To read, or not to read: that is the question - The Concordian

To read, or not to read: that is the question - The Concordian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
To read, or not to read: that is the question

The Concordian

 

If one to were to choose to ignore research and statistics, consider this: for a brief moment, we get to voyage through the mind of the author and relish in new perspectives and thought processes. Whether it be a work of fiction or a bibliography or even a bad teen novel, there’s always something to take away from curling up and reading. It’s the frustration when your favorite character dies (Game of Thrones, anyone?) or the exultation when the couple that were not so secretly in love finally end up together. For a fleeting moment, we are not only involved in the story, but active participants.

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Jacob Garber: Steven Knapp's rebellious streak - GW Hatchet (subscription)

Jacob Garber: Steven Knapp's rebellious streak - GW Hatchet (subscription) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Jacob Garber: Steven Knapp's rebellious streat

GW Hatchet

 

We should distinguish between intellectual, scholarly analysis and the innate value of a personal connection to literature. And although Knapp's writing may seem dated and inapplicable to all but English majors, he teaches us as students something important about the conventional way of approaching literature.

 

Primarily, that it can be infuriating.

 

Formal classroom analysis often overcomplicates the author's intentions, which can obscure the value that a work of literature may have. Though academia certainly has its merits, it trains our instincts to turn toward endless interpretation and a level of subjectivity that makes any form of reading a daunting task.

 

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Philip Roth inspired my very feminist sex life - Salon

Philip Roth inspired my very feminist sex life - Salon | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Salon

Philip Roth inspired my very feminist sex life

 

Roth's not a misogynist -- he worships women's sexual power, and he taught me to celebrate mine
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30 Books You Should Read Before You're 30 - Huffington Post

30 Books You Should Read Before You're 30 - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
30 Books You Should Read Before You're 30
Huffington Post

 

there are certain books you should read in your 20s, due to the age of the characters or the intended audience -- books like Donna Tartt's "The Secret History" or Christopher Hitchens' "Letters to a Young Contrarian."

 

There are also fantastic classics that may not have been assigned to you in school but that you should pick up ASAP simply because you're missing out -- books like Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook" or "A Collection of Essays" by George Orwell.

 

Check out the 30 books we think you should read before you're 30:

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

But don't despair if you're already over 30. You can read these books, all good suggestions, at any age. In fact, the older you are, the more you may get out of reading, and rereading, them.

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JJ Abrams on Karl Urban and Fringe Alum JH Wyman's Futuristic Police Procedural Almost Human

JJ Abrams on Karl Urban and Fringe Alum JH Wyman's Futuristic Police Procedural Almost Human | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
JJ Abrams on Karl Urban and Fringe Alum JH Wyman's Futuristic Police ...
IGN

 

Scheduled to premiere on Monday November 4th, Almost Human sets out to create a series that balances the elements of procedural and serialized television. A science-fiction police drama created by Fringe's J.H. Wyman and produced by J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot, Almost Human is set in 2048 and stars Karl Urban (Star Trek) as Detective John Kennex, a damaged and embittered man, wary of the influx of technology.

 

Kennex, after suffering a devastating loss, is - much to his dismay - partnered with android Dorian (played by Underworld: Awakening's Michael Ealy). Discontinued after displaying erratic emotional responses, the Dorian model is both a student and reflection of human nature.

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