ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Merriam-Webster Breaks The Internet Over Grammar Change

"It is permissible in English for a preposition to be what you end a sentence with," the dictionary publisher said in a post shared on Instagram last week. - NPR

A Surge In Online Book Clubs Followed By New Friendships In Real Life

User numbers of an app called “Bookclubs,” designed to help organize clubs, grew 240% from 2020 to 2021. Since then, its user base has been roughly doubling annually, the company says. The app currently has just under one million users with accounts. - The Wall Street Journal

Literary Festivals Are Now Having To Worry About Safety And Risk Management

For instance, moderators at the Perth Festival Writers’ Weekend in Australia were sent a memo titled "Facilitator safety tips." Among those tips: discussing with panelists in advance what are off-limits topics and ending (or simply forgoing) audience Q&As if they risk becoming too inflammatory. - The Guardian

New York Is Home To More Endangered Languages Than Anywhere Else

All told, there are more endangered languages in and around New York City than have ever existed anywhere else, says Perlin, who has spent 11 years trying to document them. - The New York Times

Israeli Forces Have Destroyed Another Library In Gaza

Al-Kalima joins a long list of destroyed libraries. In addition, “the Central Archives of Gaza (which contained 150 years of records pertaining to Gaza’s history) and the Great Omari Mosque (which contained one of the most significant collections of rare books in Palestine) have both also been destroyed.” - LitHub

Can We Still Write Good Climate Fiction If We’re In Despair?

American fiction has some problems, including an inability to focus on something so big, it encompasses everything. - LitHub

Every Dictator Needs A Good Storyteller

It is a writer’s work to wrestle coherent storylines out of the mess that is real life (that’s what dictators employ writers for). - New Statesman

When Fan Fiction Becomes A Commercial Hit… A Legal Grey Area?

The great success of Fifty Shades has turned publishers’ attention to the wealth of stories found in online fan fiction archives. These stories sometimes have huge loyal readerships. - The Conversation

Why The Neighbors Are Not Happy That The Burned Herculaneum Scrolls Are Being Deciphered

The news that a team of students, using AI on digital scans, has deciphered the text on one of the scrolls carbonized in the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius was greeted with excitement in many places — but not among the current residents of the site. - Artnet

When And Where Did The First Indo-European Language Develop? There’s A New Argument About That.

"Most linguists think those speakers were nomadic herders on the steppes of Ukraine and Russia about 6,000 years ago. Yet a minority put the origin 2,000 to 3,000 years earlier, (in agricultural) Anatolia. ... Now a new analysis, using techniques borrowed from evolutionary biology, has come down in favor of the latter." - Knowable

Explaining The Censorship Scandal At The Hugo Awards

The controversy is over nominations for the 2023 awards: the ceremony was held for the first time in China, in Chengdu. Memos leaked afterward show that, in an act of anticipatory censorship, several titles with enough votes to be finalists were declared ineligible out of fear of offending China's government. - Salon

The Titles Most Often Stolen From San Francisco Public Libraries, And A Possible Solution

It turns out that the volumes most frequently pilfered from SFPL shelves aren't, say, bestselling thrillers; they're books about addiction and recovery. So city officials want to start giving such books away for free. - AP

Ron DeSantis Is Now Backing Away From All The Book Bans He Helped Start In Florida

"Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday came out in support of a proposal to limit book bans in schools. ... In a press conference, DeSantis tried to claim that accusations that he has enabled book bans in the state of Florida are 'a fraud' and 'a big hoax.'" - The New Republic

Book Bans Are Bad Enough. Stripping Libraries Of Funding Is A Whole Other Bad

While the nation has been focusing on book bans, school libraries all around us have gone without enough (noncontroversial) books. Or inviting furniture. Or amenities that would help create a sense of community. - Washington Post

Israeli Forces Raid, Destroy Publishing Houses In The West Bank

"IDF raids on Palestinian publishing houses are nothing new. Seven Palestinian publishing houses were raided or destroyed over a six-month period in 2016-2017, and eleven more were targeted in a seven-month period in 2021." - LitHub

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