Author Archive

Sociology Texts That Read Like Novels

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Social science doesn’t have to be dry and statistics-laden. Sociology writing can be as vivid and gripping as fiction, when done well. Luckily there’s no shortage of compelling US sociology books, or sociologists.

The Inaccessibility of Books—A Persistent Problem

Author: | Categories: Publishing, Reading No comments
Imagine being cut off from more than ninety percent of the world’s printed material. According to the non-profit World Blind Union, that's the case for people with visual impairments. But there are plenty of things that can be done to make books more accessible to those with visual and

Gone Transparent: The Real-World Relevance of the Radical Transparency in Dave Eggers’ THE CIRCLE

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
It could be argued that The Circle, Dave Eggers’ 2013 techno-satire of an all-powerful Faceboogle-type company, goes after some easy targets. After all, it’s common to bemoan the exhaustingly hyperconnected state of a society dependent on social media.

Insights into Celebrity Humanitarianism from Zadie Smith’s SWING TIME

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
It’s not novel for celebrities to dip their toes into humanitarian waters. Actor Danny Kaye was named the first UNICEF ambassador-at-large in 1954, a full two decades before Angelina Jolie was even born. The trope of the well-meaning but clueless celebrity do-gooder is so entrenched that it’s become easy

The Dutch City Poets Who Memorialize the Lonely Dead

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Any funeral is poignant. But that’s particularly the case for those who die anonymously, unclaimed by friends or family. In the Netherlands, city poets have responded to the tragedy of “lonely funerals” by researching each deceased person and writing a tailored poem. The poems are short, stark, and moving

Songs that are Perfect Short Stories: Using Repetition

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
Some of the most effective short stories are by songwriters. The constraints and conventions of a five-minute pop song can structure a narrative in ways that, even before you get to the music, are incredibly moving.

The Technological Extinction of the Short-Story Writer

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
The march toward human obsolescence is relentless, yet the job of the writer is considered relatively safe from the threat of automation. For empathy and creativity are two qualities that it would be difficult to bundle within artificial intelligence. And empathy and creativity are perhaps the two primary calling

Cool Girls Don’t Wear Dresses: Being One of the Boys in Classic Children’s Books

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Seminal children’s books are littered with girls who are defiantly un-girly. Just a few of the many examples are Harriet the Spy, who wears a toolbelt stuffed with spy supplies and Pippi Longstocking, the rowdy orphan with the strength of Popeye.

Parents Experimenting On Their Children in Fiction

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
It’s unsurprising that parenting is fertile ground for novelists. There are plenty of stories, both in fiction and in real life, of parental sacrifice for the sake of children. More surprising are the accounts of parents using their children for the sake of their work.

The linguistic inventiveness of FANNY HILL’s pornography

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
If anyone tries to tell you that John Cleland’s Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure is a highbrow literary classic, don’t believe them. This 18th-century novel, one of the first major English-language pornographic novels, is pure smut.