Note: Dear Author will be offline tomorrow, Friday, January 31st, to test out our new theme. Please keep your fingers crossed that everything will go smoothly, and in the meantime, visit our Facebook site, where Jane will be giving away books throughout the day.
William Shakespeare, the ‘king of infinite space’ – Shakespeare, it seems, was a proponent of the “new astronomy” (i.e. the Copernican theory), decades before it because “intellectually respectable” in England around 1610. Whether or not you buy the thesis, it’s an enlightening (heh) article, and there’s even a bonus quote from one of my favorite historians, Stephen Greenblatt (whose book, Marvelous Possessions, is particularly fascinating).
“The genius from Stratford-upon-Avon has worn many hats over the years, with imaginative scholars casting him as a closet Catholic, a mainstream Protestant, an ardent capitalist, a Marxist, a misogynist, a feminist, a homosexual, a legal clerk and a cannabis dealer – yet the words “Shakespeare” and “science” are rarely uttered in the same breath.”The Telegraph
Permission to Fail – This is an incredibly interesting and provocative article by art critic Barry Schwabsky that contemplates the problematic relationship between the professionalization of art through degree programs and the role of art education (e.g. learning how to create art v. learning how to be an artist). Given our recent discussions about taking risks in commercial fiction, I think it’s a very timely and insightful essay.
“What is it that an art student is learning when she learns to use her own blindness or ignorance as a tool? That blindness can lead to insight is something I was never taught as a philosophy major, and I suspect I would not have learned it if I’d studied chemistry, history or French either. In medicine, the fledgling doctor needn’t learn how to be a patient. In none of these fields is it normally considered necessary for students to learn by systematically pulling the rug out from under their feet. That risk is peculiar to contemporary art.”The Nation
Sense and sensorbility: the book that lets you feel your protagonist’s pain – This is both amazingly cool and kind of creepy. MIT researchers have created a “wearable book” that can give the reader the sensory experiences of the protagonist. Science Fiction writer Adam Roberts commented that the idea was both “amazing” and “infantalizing, like reverting to those sorts of books we buy for toddlers that have buttons in them to generate relevant sound-effects.” Interesting perspective. Be sure to check out the video of the device.
“Dubbed “sensory fiction”, the idea was developed by Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope and Julie Legault at MIT’s media lab. The prototype story used was James Tiptree Jr’s Hugo award-winning novella The Girl Who Was Plugged in, in which the protagonist P Burke – who is deformed by pituitary dystrophy and herself experiences life through an avatar – feels “both deep love and ultimate despair, the freedom of Barcelona sunshine and the captivity of a dark damp cellar”, said the researchers.”The Guardian
Couples Whose Love Reminds Us of Elizabeth and Darcy – Okay, so I pretty much got stuck on the gif of that upside-down kiss between Toby Maguire’s Spiderman and Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane (tell me if you find it sexy or creepy in that form), and I’m still not sure what I think of this collection of fictional couples. Although I did crack up at this sentence in the Ron & Hermione section: “It’s easy to imagine that if Lizzie was [sic] a witch, she’d have sent conjured canaries at Mr. Darcy’s head, too.” Bookish
B&N Ramps Up Teen and Tween Exclusives – Barnes and Noble is not the only store to provide book exclusives (Target does this, as well, for example), but it’s perhaps indicative of their attempt to compete with Amazon and simultaneously establish their own brand. John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars was the book that made the program break out, and B&N recently re-issued Green’s first novel, Looking For Alaska, with “extras,” hoping to build on that success.
“B&N has published close to 50 teen and tween exclusives. Extra material is intended to extend the storyline, add insight by providing more details about the backstory, and answer earlier readers’ questions. What’s changed recently is not so much the packaging – the books often resemble the original publications, but with a sticker indicating that they are an “exclusive” – but the way they are published. B&N has begun giving them a full-fledged marketing and publicity campaign in addition to in-store signage and placement.”Publishers Weekly
isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnÊ¼t know, didnÊ¼t think about, or didnÊ¼t feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!