Thursday News: A book a day, genre labels, English photography collection, and a not-so Prime Day
5 tips to read a book a day every day -I get that most people don’t read more than a handful of books a year, if that, but do we really want to be encouraging people to put away a book a day? Yes, reading can help people become “better thinkers, innovators, and leaders,” but isn’t reading purposefully, deliberately, and reflectively what we should be going for? As to these tips, I am a huge fan of audiobooks, but on average the ones I listen to go for about 13 hours, and who has 13 hours a day to listen to a book? Not to mention the controversy over how people retain what they’re “reading” aurally?
A Quora thread examined the time it takes to read a book versus listen to a book. Users discovered that although the average word per minute read is lower by an audiobook narrator than oneself (the average adult reads 300 wpm), the benefits are higher. One user said the medium of an audiobook allows him to “read” while multitasking and, thus, finish more books than he would the traditional way. –Business Insider
Do Genre Labels Matter Anymore? -A relevant interrogation of genre labels from Dana Stevens and Leslie Jamison. Stevens talks about the similarities between the terms “genre” and “gender” and the “crisis of meaning” over the concept of genre. While I tend to sympathize with her wish that the way we construct genre would catch up to the fluidity of “our social understanding of gender,” I think Jamison is onto something with her conceptualization of genre as an expression of desire:
Do genre labels matter? Sure they do. Not as rigid categorical descriptions but as illuminations of desire. It’s futile and misguided to insist on their absolute boundaries (“All great works of literature establish a genre or dissolve one,” Walter Benjamin said), but they do offer a set of crude terms we use to articulate hungers for which we haven’t found or wrought a more precise vocabulary. We want language to transcend its instrumental signifying origins, to buck its packhorse saddles, to surprise us. So we say: Poetry! We want access to the mystery of other people’s lives, or we want to know why an entire civilization collapsed, or why a man killed his mother, so we say: Nonfiction! Each is more apt as a symptom of hunger than an absolute type of artifact. That wanting is the molten core — for truth or beauty or resonance — and the texts are just the cooling lava formations that form across the crust, the byproducts of craving. There are important differences between fiction and nonfiction — and I believe in the ethical necessity of fact-checking, which viewed rightly can become its own sort of generative formal constraint — but our uninterrogated absolute distinctions leave much middle ground unspoken for. –New York Times
‘The beauty of the everyday’ – The Amber collective is comprised of film and photographs taken in Newcastle upon Tyne beginning around 1970 and is now on display in a collection titled For Ever Amber” at the Laing Art Gallery through mid-September. Check out the short video on the project. As this story explains,
A team of photographers and film-makers has spent 45 years capturing lives and landscapes in north-east England. As this film shows, the work of the Amber collective reveals a lost era.–BBC News
25 Of The Best Responses To Amazon Prime Day – As someone who buys a lot of stuff at Amazon, I was expecting some really good deals on Prime Day, which they’ve been heavily promoting for weeks now. And the best deal I likely got it on a dog toy. In the early morning (I had to meet movers at 6 am, so I was on the site much earlier than I would otherwise be), both the app and the website were giving me serious problems, and I lost the only two items I really wanted (the Echo and the Fire Stick). When I emailed Amazon to complain about their site’s performance issues, I got an apology and a free month of Prime. Whoopee. In the end, all Prime Day did for me was get me nice and pissed at Amazon for most of it. And apparently I wasn’t alone, judging by these (mostly hilarious) responses. –Buzzfeed