ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


The New York Times Crossword Is A Culture War Minefield

Says one puzzle constructor, "It becomes an endless series of judgment calls. Is this slang term offensive? Is that world leader merely unpleasant, or too toxic to even mention?" Adds one maven, "You have this responsibility to be aware of what it is that you're feeding those people." - Kotaku

Eight-Year-Old Writes Book, Hides It In Library — It’s A Hit!

The book, “The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis” by the author “Dillon His Self,” had drawn so much attention by the end of January that 56 people were on the waiting list to check it out, said Alex Hartman, the manager of the library branch. - The New York Times

The Guy Who Conned All Those Manuscripts Out Of Publishers — What Did He Want Them For?

It wasn't hard to identify Filippo Bernardini once the FBI got involved; he didn't cover his email tracks very well. But none of the unpublished work he stole ever appeared on the black market, where it would have been nearly worthless anyway. So what was his motivation? - The New Republic

Why A New Focus On Black Writers Doesn’t Feel Like Victory

As a Black author, what do I do with the knowledge that the cruel and senseless murder of a Black human being led to an increased interest in books by Black authors like myself? And why do Black people need to be brutalized and even killed so publicly and so horrifically before some entities decide that Black stories are...

Public Libraries Are Offering Training In Starting And Running A Small Business

"As the pandemic has spurred an entrepreneurship boom, many public libraries have stepped in to meet a growing need among new business owners, particularly those without the resources to seek paid help," such as people without a high school degree and the formerly incarcerated. - Bloomberg CityLab

New York Times Drops A Million Or Two To Buy Wordle

The newspaper said that it paid an amount "in the low seven figures" for the game, which was released in October and gained hundreds of thousands of players within three months. The Times says that Wordle will remain free to users. - Ars Technica

Why Are Demands For Book Bans Increasing?

Parents, activists, school board officials and lawmakers around the country are challenging books at a pace not seen in decades. The American Library Association said in a preliminary report that it received an “unprecedented” 330 reports of book challenges, each of which can include multiple books, last fall. - The New York Times

Don’t Panic, But Print Sales Are Going To Fall In 2022

To be fair, 2020 and 2021 were unexpectedly, thanks to the pandemic, very strong years for print. - Publishers Weekly

A Novelist Ruminates On Whether Writing Can, And Will, Change The World

Will we be all right? People ask science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson versions of this question all of the time. Robinson thinks we might be, with a lot of work. - The New Yorker

Gaza Bookshop Destroyed By Airstrikes Is Rebuilding With Books From Around The World

Less than a year after the Israeli airstrikes that destroyed his beloved two-story bookshop, owner Samir Mansour "is now preparing to reopen as both a bookshop and library, in a new location" - with some of the 150,000 books donated from around the world - The Guardian (UK)

Author Gish Jen On Going Back And Forth Between Fiction And Nonfiction, And How She Thinks About Representation

"One of the problems that minority writers face is: How many writers are there? If it’s just you, you’ve got to be pretty careful. As times change, and there are more voices, you can relax a little. But there is still a little voice in the back of my head." - The New York Times

Who’s Buried In Yeats’ Grave?

Well, it's not Yeats, after "a somewhat cack-handed, though reasonably successful, conspiracy ... involving a local pathologist, a number of French (and probably Irish) diplomats, certain member of the Yeats family, and god knows how many bemused gravediggers and customs officials." - LitHub

So-Called Urban Fiction Shapes A Lot Of Culture, But It Gets No Respect

"Over the decades of its enduring popularity among Black people, street lit has consistently been treated like second-class literature" – at least by the Big Five publishers. But small indie publishers know what their audiences want. - Vice

Annals Of Fascism: Mississippi Mayor Withholding $100k From Public Libraries With All LGBTQIA Content

The libraries are steadfastly refusing to do such a thing, and the mayor is on thin - if any - legal grounds, but there's a fundraiser for the library just in case. - LitHub

Meet The Publisher Who Picks Up The Books Big Houses Have Just Cancelled

Skyhorse Publishing acquired the books by Woody Allen, Blake Bailey, Norman Mailer and others that were dropped when controversy hit. Says Skyhorse chief Lyons, "All you hear is the takedown of the author and no analysis of the book itself.' Critics accuse him of "a libertarianism of convenience." - The Guardian

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