How Can You Tell If An Author Is Being “Authentic”?

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“Tackling an author who is new to us, it can be hard to tell whether the work is authentic or not. In which case, best to enjoy the perplexity of not quite knowing how serious our author is, weighing the arguments on both sides, reading another novel to see how it fits. This is part of the fun of reading, too, the attempt to get one’s mind round the work, accepting a long game played out over three, four, five books.”

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The Universal Language Of Science Is English. Should It Be?

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“This point is much easier to sustain if the speaker grew up speaking English, but the majority of scientists working today are actually not native English speakers. When you consider the time spent by them on language-learning, the English-language conquest is not more efficient than polyglot science – it is just differently inefficient.”

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Is Harper Lee’s “Go Set A Watchman” A Sequel, Or What? The Publisher Explains

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Jonathan Burnham of HarperCollins: “It’s set 20 years after the events of To Kill a Mockingbird, … during the mid-1950s during a turbulent time in American racial politics. … In a way, it’s a pre-sequel, if that could exist. None of the material from Go Set A Watchman can be found in To Kill A Mockingbird. All the scenes are new. The writing is new. … It’s in every respect a different novel.”

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The Common Core Has Not Killed Literature

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“The Common Core language-arts and literacy standards call for ‘a true balance of informational and literary texts.’ Many teachers and administrators misinterpret that. They immediately focus on the shift to nonfiction texts and forget the ‘balance.’ There’s nothing in the standards about Ponyboy, but I certainly see how I could use him, with some nonfiction and multimedia texts about gangs, to give my kids a rigorous learning experience. And that’s my choice.”

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Milan Kundera’s First Novel In 13 Years Is On The Way

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“Faber will release Kundera’s The Festival of Insignificance, translated from the original French by Linda Asher, on 18 June. The short work was first published in Italy in 2013, and has since topped charts in Italy, Spain and France. … The US edition will be released by HarperCollins on 23 June.”

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The Long Wait: Harper Lee To Publish Second Novel

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The recently discovered book, titled “Go Set a Watchman,” was completed in the mid-1950s, in the midst of the civil rights movement. It takes place 20 years after “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Though it’s effectively a sequel, Ms. Lee actually wrote “Go Set a Watchman” first.

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Academic Publishing Is Being Disrupted. Now What?

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Time-honored traditions appear vulnerable to overhaul or even extinction. Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library and Larsen librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, says, “We are still in the Wild West of sorting out how we will communicate our academic developments effectively.”

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A Brief History Of Loving To Read

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“For a long time, people didn’t love literature. They read with their heads, not their hearts (or at least they thought they did), and they were unnerved by the idea of readers becoming emotionally attached to books and writers. It was only over time, Lynch writes – over the century roughly between 1750 and 1850 – that reading became a ‘private and passional’ activity, as opposed to a ‘rational, civic-minded’ one.”

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Anton Chekhov Wrote The Best Work Of Journalism Of The 19th Century

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Akhil Sharma on Sakhalin Island, an account of life in prison camps in that isolated spot off Siberia’s Pacific coast: “The fact that so few people know of the book, and that among Western critics (not necessarily Russian ones) it is considered a minor masterpiece instead of a major one … has something to do with how journalism is rarely considered literature. But it has even more to do with the lies that Chekhov told to get access to the prison colony.”

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Turns Out Countess Tolstoy Was Quite A Writer Herself

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Ron Rosenbaum: “At times one could almost say she’s … Tolstoyan. And when it comes to love and sex, she shows her husband up for the demented fool he became. Specifically, Sofiya pulls off a remarkable structural feat in mirroring [The Kreutzer Sonata‘s] wife-murder plot from the point of view of the murdered wife. And she does it with prose that (in English at least) comes across as graceful, emotionally intuitive, and heartbreaking.”

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This Writer Wrote The Book Gravity, And Sold The Rights To Hollywood – And This Is What Happened Next

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“The principles involved go far beyond my individual lawsuit. Every writer who sells film rights to Hollywood must now contend with the possibility that the studio they signed the contract with could be swallowed up by a larger company — and that parent company can then make a movie based on your book without compensating you. It means Hollywood contracts are worthless.”

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When The Time Comes To Combine Your Libraries

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“In some way that wasn’t apparent to me before they sat on the side table, waiting to be sorted, I could see these were the books that had kept him company in those years before he knew me, the books that had helped him turn into him. This hadn’t quite been apparent to me before I took them down to move them.”

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Why Novelists Turn To The Vividness Of Music

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“Perhaps, fearful of losing the attention of their readers, novelists are borrowing the captivating force of music, feeding off its sensuousness in an effort to regain a lost immediacy. The lengthy musical passages in recent novels, including a few loving and climactic concert scenes, seem to strive for music’s Orphic power.”

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At The (Very Crowded) Jaipur Literary Festival

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“The heaving, barging, chattering throng of a thousand or so people, packing the aisles and testing the walls of the auditorium … was remarkable and exhilarating. It was a much younger, livelier and more euphoric crowd than literary festivals usually attract. It wanted to be provoked, was eager to laugh and fought to be heard: as the microphones went around for questions, eager hands snatched at them.”

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Jaipur Isn’t Even India’s Biggest Book Bash – Or Most Bookish City

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That would be Calcutta Kolkata, where “roadside tea shack owners will talk at length on important writers of the day and rickshaw pullers adorn the backs of their vehicles with the names of writers” – and where the world’s largest non-trade (i.e., for the public) book fair, the Boi Mela, attracts 1½ million people.

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We May Be Closer To Recovering The Only Surviving Library Collection From Ancient Rome

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“Researchers have found a key that may unlock the only library of classical antiquity to survive along with its documents” – from a villa in Herculaneum, destroyed along with Pompeii by the Vesuvius eruption – “raising at least a possibility of recovering vanished works of ancient Greek and Roman authors such as the lost books of Livy’s history of Rome.”

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An Ambitious Plan To Bring Out-Of-Print Academic Books Back To Life

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“Over the past 100 years, tens of thousands of academic books have been published in the humanities, including many remarkable works on history, literature, philosophy, art, music, law, and the history and philosophy of science. But the majority of these books are currently out of print and largely out of reach for teachers, students, and the public. The Humanities Open Book pilot grant program aims to “unlock” these books by republishing them as high-quality electronic books that anyone in the world can download and read on computers, tablets, or mobile phones at no charge.”

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The Many (English-Speaking) Lives Of “Anna Karenina”

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“Why does a novel that already has at least six or seven English-language editions need yet another update? Journalist and author Masha Gessen discusses the difficulty of translating a literary masterpiece and argues the more the better.” (podcast)

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The Art of Literary Expletive Avoidance

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“Swearwords pepper modern novels, not least in genres like detective fiction where they lend colour and authenticity to hard-boiled dialogue. But there are times when a writer can say more by not saying them.”

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Writers Have To Talk About Money, Or Nothing Will Ever Change

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“Those with privilege and luck don’t want the riffraff knowing the details. After all, if ‘those people’ understood the differences in our lives, they might revolt. Or, God forbid, not see us as somehow more special, talented and/or deserving than them. There’s a special version of this masquerade that we writers put on.”

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Why Mark Zuckerberg’s Book Club Is Really Cool

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“Most of the coverage of Zuckerberg’s book club has taken the perspective of the publishing industry and invokes the hallowed name of Oprah. Will the Facebook founder become the book business’ new Prince Charming, bestowing instant fame and bestseller status on some obscure but deserving author twice a month? But far more intriguing is the emerging portrait of Mark Zuckerberg as a reader.”

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Where Science And Science Fiction Meet

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“Many scientists and engineers acknowledge that science fiction helped to spark their imagination of what was possible in science (immersion in the genre from a young age might help explain why I now research unconventional computers). And science fiction authors are inspired by future science possibilities. But how do novel scientific ideas get into SF authors’ heads in the first place?”

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