Literature & Psychology
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Literature & Psychology
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Old tales of ghosts and goons hold creepy subtexts for contemporary readers - Washington Post

Old tales of ghosts and goons hold creepy subtexts for contemporary readers - Washington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
In time for Halloween, three new anthologies of 19th-century ghost stories and detective tales.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Some discussion of how horror and ghost stories represent the times that produced them.

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Romeo and Juliet Has No Balcony - The Atlantic

Romeo and Juliet Has No Balcony - The Atlantic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Shakespeare didn't even know what a balcony was—so how did one end in his most famous scene?

 

This strange fact—the lack of a balcony in Romeo and Juliet—can easily be verified by anyone who goes back and reads Shakespeare's play, something few have done since high school. What is more complicated is understanding how a non-existent balcony has become so indelibly associated with Romeo and Juliet, that today it’s difficult to imagine the play without it. But tracing the history of how the balcony scene evolved over the past four centuries reveals that even when it comes to Shakespeare, audiences may care less about the original text than about adaptations and revisions that appeal to the sensibilities of the current era.

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Have You Ever Had a Relationship End Because of a Book? - New York Times

Have You Ever Had a Relationship End Because of a Book? - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Zoë Heller and Anna Holmes discuss the havoc books can wreak on relationships.
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Writing on the edge - Connecticut College

Writing on the edge - Connecticut College | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Author Luanne Rice ’77 channels the emotional turmoil of life into best-selling fiction.

 

Over her decades-long writing career, Luanne Rice ’77 has amassed a large, devoted following. Most of her 31 novels feature breezy titles, like “Dream Country” and “The Perfect Summer,” with covers featuring softly hued images of young women staring off toward the sea. Those perusing bookshelves might be quick to classify them as “beach reads,” but with those pastel-colored sunsets come turbulence and unpredictability. It’s the prevailing metaphor of Rice’s fiction — and her life.

. . .

“I’m interested in the way people live on the edge, the borderline. There’s something about stepping off that intrigues me,” she says. “Also, there’s hardship and beauty — the light and the tides and the currents of things that are swept in and swept away.”

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From Daleks to Zombies: What Monsters Mean to Us - New York Times (blog)

From Daleks to Zombies: What Monsters Mean to Us - New York Times (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Part of that appeal may lie in the way monsters recast collective anxiety in fictional form. “One of the major functions that monsters provide for us is they let us process our fears about the real world without having to look at them too directly,” says David J. Skal, author of “The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror.” He and others who study the monstrous say that we can read the dominant worries of an era in its monster stories — and that while those stories can sometimes help us deal with those worries, they can also make things worse.

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Watch This: Crime Writer James Ellroy Recommends — What Else? — Noir Flms - KUNC

Watch This: Crime Writer James Ellroy Recommends — What Else? — Noir Flms - KUNC | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

James Ellroy is a crime writer with a reputation. His books, which include L.A. Confidential and Perfidia, are set mainly in 1940s and '50s Los Angeles, where the line between cops and criminals is cut very fine. His writing is highly cinematic and has been adapted to the big screen more than once, which made us wonder about his taste in movies.


As Ellroy tells NPR's Steve Inskeep, his favorite films involve foul play in post-World War II settings.

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Why the horror of Stephen King's words don't translate well to film - A.V. Club Denver/Boulder

Why the horror of Stephen King's words don't translate well to film - A.V. Club Denver/Boulder | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Horror, like comedy, is a visceral genre: We don’t choose what to laugh at, just as we can’t really choose what scares us. It’s an individual, subjective experience.

 

King’s horror fiction often focuses on internal threats, those that can’t be seen or predicted. His best novels explore very human fears and anxieties, elements that are difficult to bring to a visual medium. The novel isn’t inherently a superior storytelling medium (we’ve moved past that reductive argument long ago, especially with the second Golden Age of Television), but it does seem more suited to King’s particular take on horror, where the internal, human terrors are privileged over the external ones. His novels are certainly filled with creatures and monsters of all types, but his most poignant works muse on themes that are of this world, hardly supernatural or ghostly.

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20 Life-Changing Books! - Huffington Post

20 Life-Changing Books! - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

If you want to change your body, change what you eat and how you exercise. If you want to change your outlook on life, change what you read and put it into practice.


Listed below are twenty life-changing books. Unless you are determined to be miserable (which, strangely enough, some people are), these books will change your life for the better. Click on the titles to order a copy for yourself, then mark them up and put them into practice.

 

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

I always find lists like this very presumptuous. Who is anybody else to say what's important for MY life? I did find this an interesting list to look at, with useful descriptions of each book, but many of them will not change my life.

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Angry bards and Amazon reviewers… - Scholars and Rogues

Angry bards and Amazon reviewers… - Scholars and Rogues | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

To paraphrase Sir Francis Bacon, reading makes one “full” – of information of all kinds. Reading a wide range of work, both fiction and nonfiction, gives one an appreciation of many kinds of writing (thus reducing the chance of misguided readings). Getting some training of some kind in critical thinking makes one better able to see how a writer succeeds and fails at the writing task attempted. These are not, nor should they be considered, elitist expectations. They are expectations anyone who values an educated society and rational discourse about books – which are the artifa cts of educated, rational societies should have.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

An interesting insight that I've not yet seen presented in the ongoing debate about the validity of internet--especially Amazon--book reviews.

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William Gibson: The future will view us "as a joke"

William Gibson: The future will view us "as a joke" | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The dystopian author on time travel, cronuts, and his 22nd-century novel.

For evidence that the sci-fi future is encroaching on the present, look no further than William Gibson's latest book, The Peripheral, which opens a mere decade or so from now and includes a cameo for cronuts, those croissant-doughnut hybrids invented last year by a New York City chef. When Gibson's debut, Neuromancer, exploded onto the sci-fi scene way back in 1984, his vision of "cyberspace" felt dizzyingly distant. (Gibson, now 66, had coined the term in a short story a couple of years earlier.)

 

Now Neuromancer just seems prescient: a corporate dystopia whose denizens, increasingly engrossed with their technological distractions, live on opposite sides of a cavernous divide between the tech haves and have-nots, their lives circumscribed by conglomerates with insatiable appetites for data. The new book, meanwhile, stars a bunch of downtrodden trailer park residents who get caught up in the deadly games of some time-warping elites from 70 years hence.

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Take a Literary Tour of San Francisco's Beat Culture

Take a Literary Tour of San Francisco's Beat Culture | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Serious book lovers are no doubt aware of San Francisco's central role in the Beat movement of the 1950s and early 1960s, a time that saw the city's literary elite challenge tried forms and conventions through the power of their words. The spirit of those daring, rebellious times lives on today in several spots throughout the city.


We spoke with former San Francisco resident Julie Falconer from A Lady in London for her expert insight into the enduring influence of the Beat generation on the city today, and how you can retrace the steps of the trailblazers who sparked a revolution of ideals.

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Transrealism: the first major literary movement of the 21st century? - The Guardian (blog)

Transrealism: the first major literary movement of the 21st century? - The Guardian (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

It’s not science fiction, it’s not realism, but hovers in the unsettling zone in between. From Philip K Dick to Stephen King, Damien Walter takes a tour through transrealism, the emerging genre aiming to kill off ‘consensus reality’

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Fictional Books Within Books We Wish Were Real - Huffington Post

Fictional Books Within Books We Wish Were Real - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The list of invented books mentioned in fiction is extensive, and it's always somewhat fascinating to see a hint of an alternative universe where a creative work exists that we don't have access to in our world. Most tantalizingly, some authors offer scraps of text or information about these fictional texts, or even weave them closely into the plot of their own story. In these cases, it's almost unbearable to realize that we can never read these books.

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Don't Knock Thrillers - Huffington Post

Don't Knock Thrillers - Huffington Post | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

a thriller is not a cozy mystery or a whodunit. It's a novel or play in which a threat to the life or well-being of the protagonist and/or other significant characters is paramount. Catastrophe will occur if the hero doesn't act decisively, and if necessary, with violence. A sense of urgency pervades a thriller--the clock is always ticking. And the stakes are extremely high.


The Iliad, The Odyssey, Hamlet and Macbeth are pulse-pounding thrillers. Think of Raskolnikov and the riveting axe scene in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment.

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Why Witches on TV Spell Trouble in Real Life - TIME

Why Witches on TV Spell Trouble in Real Life - TIME | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
From Salem to 'Salem,' witchcraft has been a fixture of American pop culture

 

There’s something about witches, it seems, that’s as compelling to us today as it was to the Puritans. But while the 1692 trials were a terrifying and tragic reality show, it’s easy to dismiss the modern fantasy of witchcraft as mere silliness. Not so fast, scholars say: When witchcraft makes a comeback, it’s often a sign of trouble in the real world. Stories of witches cast a captivating spell that both challenges and comforts us in those times — such as now.

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Books at work: Employers find value in assigned reading - Great Falls Tribune

A growing nonprofit program called Books@Work is finding that the books workers read don’t have to just be about the workplace. Wading into literature can go a long way toward expanding minds and bringing colleagues closer together.


The Cleveland-based program — now operating in five states — finds professors from nearby colleges and universities to lead workplace literature seminars. Workers who participate will read a book or a series of short stories each month and, as a group, meet weekly with the professor. Ideally, this will continue for up to six months, with different professors handling different books.

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Seed of fiction: how gardens inspire writers - Telegraph

Seed of fiction: how gardens inspire writers - Telegraph | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
A new book captures the unique inspiration that our best-loved authors have found in their gardens
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'The Vanishing of Ethan Carter': The Weird and the Familiar - PopMatters

'The Vanishing of Ethan Carter': The Weird and the Familiar - PopMatters | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a game about stories. A young boy named Ethan Carter, who spends much of his time writing weird Lovecraftian fiction stories, has apparently stumbled on something ancient and evil in his own hometown and has gone missing. The player takes on the role of a psychic detective called Paul Prospero (aptly named after the protagonist of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a character associated with writing and with the ability to directly contact the spirit world) and directs him in his quest to locate Ethan.

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Jodi Picoult discusses the facts of fiction - CMU The Tartan Online

Jodi Picoult discusses the facts of fiction
CMU The Tartan Online


But why does Picoult write fiction about such controversial issues when she could write nonfiction to give her readers the cold, hard facts about a topic she has researched?

 

“There’s something that fiction can do that nonfiction cannot,” Picoult said. “A lot people will not address a controversial subject in nonfiction, but they pick up a novel, and they think they’re being entertained, and almost by accident, by the time they close that last page, they realize they are being forced to re-evaluate whatever opinions they have when they started the book.... Where I believe that nonfiction has the obligation to chronicle the past and what has happened, fiction has the opportunity to change minds, change the future, and change the course of what will happen.”

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Exactly.

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The History of Gay Publishing Seen Through One Remarkable Career - Slate Magazine (blog)

The History of Gay Publishing Seen Through One Remarkable Career - Slate Magazine (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
When I started in publishing more than 20 years ago, answering phone calls at a customer service desk, the only gay man in the industry whose name I knew was the renowned editor Michael Denneny. Most editors spend their career, however...

 

The following conversation with Michael, conducted via email, underscores that gay literature doesn’t just “happen.” There are individuals behind it, so to speak, and it’s about more than writers and readers. 

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"Mindfulness Improves Reading Ability, Working Memory, and Task-Focus, say UC Santa Barbara Researchers " - UC Santa Barbara News Release

"Mindfulness Improves Reading Ability, Working Memory, and Task-Focus, say UC Santa Barbara Researchers " - UC Santa Barbara News Release | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– If you think your inability to concentrate is a hopeless condition, think again –– and breathe, and focus. According to a study by researchers at the UC Santa Barbara, as little as two weeks of mindfulness training can significantly improve one's reading comprehension, working memory capacity, and ability to focus.


Their findings were recently published online in the empirical psychology journal Psychological Science.

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Realistic storytelling propels 'Summer of the Dead' - Toledo Blade

Realistic storytelling propels 'Summer of the Dead' - Toledo Blade | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Julia Keller told The Blade she believes anger sometimes gets a bad rap and can be misunderstood — it’s not always a bad thing.

 

“Anger, of course, has a dark side if it’s carried too far. I wanted a character that embodied that. I wanted it to be a woman because I just hadn’t seen that a lot.”

 

That’s what Keller had in mind when she created Belfa “Bell” Elkins — named after Keller’s 94-year-old great aunt — who is the protagonist in a series of mysteries that take place in the mountains of southern West Virginia: A Killing in the Hills, Bitter River, and Summer of the Dead.

 

Keller’s unconventional plan works. She’s created a literary role model that has real-life toughness, and Bell is always the smartest person in the room. Those welcome characteristics are largely missing in today’s book world, which is flooded with chick lit and YA titles.

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Why narratives are more powerful than ideas - Baltimore Sun

There is an enormous amount of whining these days about our ideological debates. This gets the problem wrong. Ideological debates are fought over ideas, but politics is more often about competing stories, or, as the eggheads call them, "narratives."

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A Writing Retreat by Rail, From Paris to the Côte d'Azur - New York Times

A Writing Retreat by Rail, From Paris to the Côte d'Azur - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Could a train trip to the Mediterranean infuse the author with literary inspiration?

 

But the destination was not as important as this journey. I intended to ride this train off the grid for almost the next five hours with a mission: to liberate a book proposal that I have resolutely avoided finishing. I thought of this quest as writing the rails — with an iPad instead of a hobo’s bindle and bedroll. Train window as muse. Mind in fast forward.

Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

Nice work, if you can get it.

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The Writing Life by David Malouf examines reading as an experience - Sydney Morning Herald

The Writing Life by David Malouf examines reading as an experience - Sydney Morning Herald | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The second volume of the author's collected essays often blurs the line between criticism and personal reflection.
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