Thursday News: pinning down science, how people write, literal puzzle book, and viral male mentorship video
Publisher Tweaks ‘Gene’ Book After New Yorker Article Uproar – An excerpt in the New Yorker of the new book by Columbia University’s Siddhartha Mukherjee raised some controversy among other scientists. So Scribner, the book’s publisher, had Mukherjee edit the book to “clarify” some of the issues around epigenetics, the aspect of the book that drew fire, even though it was aimed at the New Yorker. Now Scientific American has reported that neuroscientists from MIT and other institutions (more than 200) are writing letters to the New York Times to protest “a book excerpt in the newspaper’s Sunday magazine this week [that they contend] contains important errors, misinterpretations of scientific disputes, and unfair characterizations of an MIT neuroscientist who did groundbreaking research on human memory.” The nature of the complaints may be different, but it’s interesting to see media outlets bearing the brunt of the protest. Will Random House take a similar action and revise Luke Dittrich’s Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets, even though they have not been receiving the complaints? The controversy over Dittrich’s book revolves around issues of scientific history, while the controversy over Mukherjee’s book concerns a current scientific field:
“The original book did not need corrections,” he said. “These were clarifications to reemphasize things that were already in the original book.” Dr. Mukherjee said he would share the changes with the New Yorker so the magazine could decide whether to publish a clarification.
“The field is going through a transition,” said Dr. Mukherjee, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning book on cancer, “The Emperor of All Maladies,” was published in 2010. “I’m trying to keep up with it. The science changes literally every day… Fields of science where there’s deep uncertainty still need to be written about. That’s what I do.” – Wall Street Journal and Scientific American
How to Write a Novel – The title of this article is slightly misleading, as it’s not a primer on writing a novel. Rather, it’s a discussion of different writing strategies, especially so-called “pansters” and “planners.” Akilesh Ayyar revisits the work and writing theories of different authors, including James Joyce, JK Rowling, William Gibson, George Elliiot, and quite a few others, the investigate the fallacies around the assumption that planning is a singular, articulable strategy, and that it is superior to those who see themselves as plotting by the seat of their pants.
Virginia Woolf took copious notes before she wrote her novels, as did Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov (his notes on index cards). William Faulknerscribbled his outline for A Fable on a wall which his wife tried to paint over. Joseph Heller created an extensive spreadsheet for the correspondences between various plots in Catch-22
James Joyce, though, thought “a book should not be planned out beforehand, but as one writes it will form itself, subject, as I say, to the constant emotional promptings of one’s personality.” Mark Twain too, insisted that a book “write itself” and that “the minute that the book tried to shift to my head the labor of contriving its situations…I put it away…The reason was very simple — my tank had run dry; it was empty…the story could not go on without materials; it could not be wrought out of nothing.” Ernest Hemingway said much the same, and believed in simply pouring out what was within, stopping each day before he was completely empty, and resuming the next. – The Millions
Every Page of This Wooden Book Is a Fiendish Puzzle – That sound you hear is me chewing through the duct tape on my hands, feet, and mouth, placed to keep me from visiting this book’s Kickstarter page.
YOU KNOW ABOUT puzzle books—books of puzzles, or books that are themselves puzzles. But then there’s Codex Silenda—a gorgeous, wooden book of brainteasers that is itself a multi-part mystery. As page-turners go, Codex Silenda is a special case. You have to solve the mechanical riddle that comprises each of its five pages before you can flip to the next. – Wired
This mentor has an amazing message for young men – As Romance readers, we talk a lot about empowering women, but this viral video is all about empowering boys (and men) in positive, responsible, and responsive ways. I especially love that the validation extends to both the young boy and his father. – Hello Giggles