Tuesday News: Innovations in Reading Prize, real Downton Abbey, author pseudonyms are hardly novel
2016 Innovations in Reading Prize winners make the world better, one book at a time – The Innovations in Reading Prize, sponsored by the National Book Foundation, is unique in that it honors organizations and projects rather than books, even though the focus is on literature. This year’s winner is the Next Chapter Book Club, with honorable mentions going to the Harry Potter Alliance, LGBT Books to Prisoners, Limitless Libraries, and Traveling Stories.
Founded in 2009, the Innovations in Reading Prize is an annual award that honors social advocates who are making an impact on the world though literature. Past winners have included Reach Incorporated, a reading mentorship program designed to increase literacy in kids and teens, and Chicago Books to Women in Prison, which provides free books to women’s prisons . . . .
“The Innovations in Reading Prize is our way of identifying literary activists who share this vision of what reading can do, who are working alongside us in communities across the country, and who are helping people access literature and all the life-changing benefits it brings,” says Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “This prize helps us to help those who are building readers across the country.” – Mashable
The Real Downton Abbey Was Home To Shocking Scandals And Incredible Historical Artifacts – I don’t watch Downton Abbey, but still found this pretty cool. Connections to King Tut, abortion, and illegitimacy – more scandalous than the TV series?
As any die-hard Downton Abbey fan knows, the show is filmed in an iconic castle in the UK. However, before the castle was the actual set of a TV drama, it was home to many interesting characters that did everything from discover King Tut’s tomb (and evoke a mummy curse on the castle) to launder money made from selling expensive Rothschild art and jewelry. – All Day
Can a Book With Bad Politics Be a Good Book? – Adam Kirsch and Zoë Heller debate the question of morality and ethics in literature, a topic very relevant to Romance. Should we judge books based primarily on their morality or their artistry? Can those constructs be separated? Heller argues that books with political agendas can fail in their art, while Kirsch points out that standards of the “good” change with the times with our judgments changing along with them.
Clearly, our ideas about goodness change more rapidly than our judgments about art. Plato distrusted Homer because his heroes weren’t heroic enough; in the 20th century, Simone Weil distrusted Homer because they were too violent, and the whole epic was what she called “a poem of force.” But the “Iliad” survived their critiques, because it so vividly realizes one of the imaginative possibilities of human nature. And art will always exceed ethics, including political ethics, in the same way that the possible exceeds the desirable. Ethics is the art of limitation, of rejecting parts of our nature that we find morally intolerable. For past generations, that meant rejecting greed, lust or sloth; for us, it usually means rejecting cruelty and bigotry, which are pre-eminently political vices. – New York Times
Infographic: The Author Behind the Pseudonym – Just a little reminder that pseudonyms are hardly novel (sorry, but I love a cheesy pun) – The Digital Reader