Friday News: A bunch of unrelated stuff
On Sex in Fiction – So let’s start with the good. Yes, it’s another one of those author-written semi-promotional pieces, but it also happens to be a nice little companion piece to the several pieces on writing sex we’ve been discussing in recent news posts (and I can’t remember the last time I saw someone giving due reverence to the work of James Welch). Noy Holland talks about how language can have an “erotic charge” and how “So much is sexy, if we’re paying attention,” which are both observations that, well, I think should be obvious and ubiquitous in Romance fiction. Because it’s not just about the sex, right? It’s about every piece of a story and of a character and how they fit and work together to represent an experience that engages, even consumes, the reader. I like what she says here about sex and writing authentically about characters and their relationships:
Sex is of course varied, on the page as in life, in more ways than I can count here. There still appears to be something illicit about writing sex, and this is fine by me, good news to me, a crier from another corner who calls on the writer to be aware. Make it count. Make it weird and tender and private. Let it be flimsy if it is flimsy, perfunctory, crass. Let it be ravenous, drunk on the void, the wild desire to be flung back into dust and dream and tatter. A lot of sex happens in the line space in fiction—the door closes, and the rest is suggestion. Or it happens in a few lines—not because the sex is cursory, but because—as with a lover who rolls off and wants an assessment: How’d you like that, honey?—too much can readily be said. There is sloppy sex and sex that has been too much practiced. It becomes trivial; it’s glib. Sometimes it lacks imagination or is too much imagined and maybe because writers are shy of it, sex can be dreck on the page. I remember coming across the word “disconnected,” in a story, as in, “They disconnected.” This was the conclusion of a scene in which intimacy was the claim, even rapture. The language of trains uncoupling is sexier than this. Give me the transgression, I thought, the goop and gore—anything but what makes the body less body than machine. – Publishers Weekly
Publisher Releases Signed Edition of Harper Lee’s ‘Watchman’ – So, for a mere $1,500, you can buy a signed, limited edition of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, one of only 500 leather-bound, gilt-edged books, nestled in a velvet-lined, cloth-bound box. Because this extended performance hasn’t been enough of a cash grab. Even the New York Times, which managed to report on this debacle with a straight face couldn’t entirely keep the snarl out of their coverage:
A spokeswoman for HarperCollins said that Ms. Lee, 89, signed sheets of paper that were then bound into the books, in batches over a period of a few months. Ms. Lee, who suffered a stroke in 2007 and lives in an assisted living facility in Monroeville, Ala. is nearly blind and has trouble hearing, but can write and read documents, with the help of a magnifying machine, according to people close to her. – New York Times
7 Tech Trends to Be Thankful for Today – I’ve yet to be talked into USB-C, but that’s partly because I haven’t had to justify all those damn adapters yet. Anyone else sold on it? This is an interesting list, in part because I wouldn’t have a ton of these on my own, but also because David Pogue’s insistence that “clickbait” articles titles are “fading” seems off to me. Although as someone who doesn’t use Facebook, I realize that my social media reality is skewed. Or not, depending on your perspective.
Two wonderful things have happened since. First, clickbait burned itself out from overuse and public shaming. We began to recognize the patterns of these desperate grammatical ploys, and stopped falling for them. In fact, we began outing them, mocking them, ruining them by givingawaythepunchlines.
Second, Facebook’s wise masters decided that enough was enough: It put algorithms in place that detected clickbait stories and automatically began to hide them.
There are no hard numbers on this, but it seems as though, on Facebook at least, there’s a lot less clickbait sleaze than there was a year ago. Thank goodness. – Yahoo!
Free book exchanges popping up – What a great idea: small book repositories that people can use to donate and receive books. This particular article is focused on a Michigan county where the Friends group of a district library is helping people by donating the initial offering of books. We’ve seen versions of this from time to time, but I love the idea of a movement devoted to these “Little Free Libraries.” There’s even a website where you can find them and purchase kits to build your own. The map appears to be international, as more people are registering their libraries to the site:
Little Free Libraries are free book exchanges, a way for strangers to share books with each other. Anyone is welcome to take a book and keep it forever, if you wish. If you take one, you are encouraged to leave a book to share with others.
They are found installed on people’s front yards, outside businesses and inside buildings.
Many of them them look like enlarged birdhouses with Plexiglas doors. Others look more like traditional book shelves. People also get funky and creative with them. – Livingston Daily