ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


French Dictionary Adds Gender-Neutral Pronoun; Education Minister Is Horrified

Because younger people are starting to use it, lexicographers at Le Petit Robert added the pronoun iel (a portmanteau of il and elle). The education minister huffed on Twitter, "Inclusive writing is not the future of the French language," and one MP complained to the Académie Française. - AP

A First Printing Of The US Constitution Is Now The Most Expensive Document Or Book Ever Sold At Auction

The price was $43.2 million, and the anonymous winner outbid an impromptu group of cryptocurrency players who raised money via blockchain over a few days and said they planned to put the document on public display. - Artnet

A Sharp Rise In Demands To Ban Books In Libraries

“We’re seeing an unprecedented volume of challenges. I’ve worked for ALA for 20 years, and I can’t recall a time when we had multiple challenges coming in on a daily basis.” - Time

Education As A Class Indicator (But Maybe Not How You Think)

Historically, in America, the true strength of the Classics and of a Classical education has not been among the elite but among the rising middle class. - Los Angeles Review of Books

2021 National Book Awards Go To Jason Mott, Tiya Miles, Malinda Lo, Martín Espada, Elisa Shua Dusapin

Mott's Hell of a Book won for fiction; Miles's All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack for nonfiction; Lo's Last Night at the Telegraph Club for young people's literature; Espada's Floaters for poetry, and Elisa Shua Dusapin's Winter in Sokcho for literature in translation. - AP

Fifteen-Second Book Reviews On TikTok Have Amassed 26 Billion Views

BookTok, as it's known, is an unusually lively corner of the mini-video app's subculture: the most popular reviewers can get a couple hundred thousand followers, the most watched videos rack up a million or more views, and yes, they can affect sales. - The Guardian

Nobel-Winning Writer Orhan Pamuk Charged — Again — With Insulting Turkey And Turkishness

The particular crimes he's accused of this time are insulting Atatürk and making fun of the Turkish flag in his latest novel, Nights of Plague. A judge in Istanbul had rejected the case, but the attorney who brought the charges successfully appealed. - The Guardian

Oxford University’s Library Was A Mess. Then Sir Thomas Bodley Made An Extraordinary Offer

Over the course of fifteen years, until his death in 1613, Bodley would oversee the transformation of Oxford’s library from this empty shell to the finest institutional library in Europe. - LitHub

Being Bilingual Really Does Help Your Brain. It Took America A Long Time To Figure That Out

From the start of World War I, for about 50 years, scientists and the government were convinced that using another language alongside English decreased brain function as well as making one less than fully American. Finally we're getting to understand why and how that's not true. - Literary Hub

The Little Engine Trying To Chug Its Way Up The Hill: Literary Review Of Canada Turns 30

Thirty years on, the LRC still feels like a very Canadian experiment, addressing the country’s challenges even as it faces them itself. - Toronto Star

Spotify Moves Into Audiobooks The Silicon Valley Way — By Buying A Company

The acquisition of audiobook platform Findaway lets Spotify "quickly bring a large catalog of audiobooks to its massive user base … in the way the company jump-started its push into podcasts with the acquisitions of Gimlet, Anchor, Parcast and The Ringer." - Variety

Five Books That Will Change The Way You Think About Climate Change

In contrast to the simplistic idea that all we need to do is implement a set of technological and lifestyle changes, they offer a new way of understanding and relating to nature. - The Conversation

The Trope Of “Hot” Women In Literature

A cursory review of Western literature and fiction suggests that the instinct to render fictional heroines “hot” has both a long history and one which continues to this day. - LitHub

Novelists Could Take A Cue Or Two From Poets

Or so says a novelist who took a poetry class that helped her move forward after a stale period of writer's block. - LitHub

So Sorry That We Missed National Cliche Day

Oh: "Cliché comes from the printing process when a metal plate was used to physically transfer ink to paper. The term echoes the imitative sound of the plate coming off the page and was a way to represent an image again and again in nearly identical form." - Salon

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