ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Almudena Grandes Started Her Writing Career With An Acclaimed Erotic Novel

Before her death at 61, she had become one of Spain's most ambitious, and certainly most progressive and feminist, novelists. Spain's prime minister wrote, "We lost one of the most important writers of our time." - The New York Times

How Amazon Made Book Selling The Way We Read

The populist turn has put into question whether a comparatively very small group of authors—no matter how diverse—should really hog the scholarly limelight, especially when their productions constitute such an unrepresentative sample of all the imaginative or fictional texts. - BookForum

Bookstore Lost 400,000 Books In A Fire. Then The Community Stepped Up

Thousands of books, filling two shipping containers, have been donated - and more are coming in all the time. - The Leader

The Diagram Prize For The Oddest Book Title Of 2021 Goes To —

Is Superman Circumcised?, which is, in fact, a serious study of the origins of the DC Comics character (subtitle: "The Complete Jewish History of the World's Greatest Hero"). It won the public vote against five other finalists by 28 percentage points. - The Bookseller (UK)

The Universal Story (But Why?)

From one point of view, it’s obvious that, despite exceptions, most stories portray “goody-baddy” dynamics—from nursery rhymes to juicy gossip, from ancient folktales to Holy Scripture, from lowbrow reality shows to award-winning documentaries. The question is, why? - Quillette

“The Russian Proust”, Who Died At Auschwitz, Will Have A Novel Published In English For The First Time

Yuri Felsen (né Nikolai Freudenstein), born in St. Petersburg in 1894, fled to Paris after the Revolution and was considered by Russian émigrés to be a near-equal of Nabokov. His first novel, Deceit, published in Russian in 1930; will see print in English next spring. - The Guardian

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes To Man Cleared Of Her 1981 Rape Featured In Her Book

“My goal in 1982 was justice – not to perpetuate injustice,” she said. “And certainly not to forever, and irreparably, alter a young man’s life by the very crime that had altered mine.”- The Guardian

The Saturday Evening Post Is Now 200 Years Old — And It’s Still Here

Most of us assumed the dear old mag had shut down forever. In fact, it was only closed from 1969-71, before being relaunched as a quarterly; it's now bimonthly and was overhauled in 2013. Here's an overview of the Post's two centuries. - Columbia Journalism Review

Alice Sebold’s “Lucky” Pulled By Publisher And Film Version Canceled Following Anthony Broadwater’s Exoneration

The 1999 memoir, which launched Sebold's career, recounts the rape and beating she suffered at age 18 and Broadwater's subsequent trial and conviction for the crime. Scribner and Sebold will consider how to revise the book before re-releasing it. - Forbes

How The Arab Spring Changed Arab Literature

Tied to both the 2011 revolution and, to a lesser extent, the 1952 military coup that reshaped Egyptian society, the works reflect the ways in which those upheavals affected the imaginative lens through which people relate to themselves and each other. - LitHub

When Newspapers Die, What Happens To Their Archives?

There's no established procedure, alas, so the fate of the archives depends on the particular location and owner. (We're looking at you, News Corp.) But there are some defunct newspapers whose archives have been saved, an excellent example being Denver's Rocky Mountain News. - Tedium

Merriam-Webster’s Word Of The Year For 2021 Is Something People Have Been Fighting About

"Vaccine" was the choice because of repeated spikes in traffic: searches of the word this year are up 601% from 2020 and 1,048% over 2019. Also, because of the new mRNA vaccines, the word's definition was expanded. (The runner-up Word of the Year was "insurrection.") - CNN

Crowdfunders Raised $50 Million In Crypto To Buy A Copy Of The Constitution. Now, A Problem…

Returning that much money has been a tricky process, though. Backers have to manually request refunds, so even a week later, tens of millions of dollars are still sitting in ConstitutionDAO’s pockets. - The Verge

Duolingo’s Weird Sentences Show Us How Our Brains Work

It's all about "reward prediction errors" and "the sweet spot between rote and nonsensical." Once you've learned the Swedish for "a clean reindeer" or the Yiddish for "a zebra in a pyramid," you're less likely to forget them. - Slate

Good Thing Library Fines Are Out Of Style

A sequel to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was checked out in 1910 and returned, anonymously, to the Garden City library near Boise, Idaho. - NBC

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