A Welcome Closer Look...

article posted 21 days ago

It feels like a truism to say the world keeps getting increasingly complicated, but I can’t help but sometimes feel that although we all acknowledge that fact as true, too often with a shrub of the shoulders, we may not spend enough time looking at how, why and at what cost this “complexity” keeps growing. That’s why I read this essay the Times with such great interest.

The author looks at how the ambient enthusiasm for new tech keeps burgeoning without a concomitant examination of its effects. What are we giving up for our new diversions? What are the effects of a nearly infinite and permanent web of information (if one is willing to call much of the stuff we all increasingly spend time with by that moniker)? I think we call agree on what is good about these things, but I suspect at least some (perhaps many) of us haven’t given much serious thought to the flip side.

Which means this piece might be worth the time it takes to read. (Even though it’s way longer than a status update.)

Hope you enjoy it!

E-Readers, Sleep and Health

article posted 37 days ago

As if the debate about e-readers and electronic books that has so animated conversations among bookish folks in recent years weren’t lively enough, some Harvard Medical School researchers have added a new wrinkle to the mix. This article will give you the basics of their findings, but, in brief, it seems that reading from an electronic device before bedtime interferes with one’s sleep, which – of course – has an effect on one’s overall health and well-being.

Though it’s a first study, it is certainly something to think about; the article, which can be found here is a quick read and lays out the not-inconsiderable questions.

Enough with the "Relatable"...

article posted 39 days ago

I was delighted to come across this piece at the New Yorker; it says publicly some of the things I’ve been talking about with friends over the last few years. The notion that a work of art’s “relatability” is a key factor in assessing it has seemed outrageous to me since I first heard someone raise the point. In fact, even the basic idea that “relatability” is a critical criterion with any legitimacy at all seems untenable to me.

Though the article doesn’t deal with all my objections to this troubling notion, it does raise some important points: most notably the extent to which “relatability” as critical concept (not to say bromide) is informed with a kind of intellectual laziness, an expectation that one shouldn’t have to do any work in engaging with art, that everything should simply be given to a reader/viewer/listener. And that makes it well worth the reading.

The Publishing "Cycle"...

article posted 60 days ago

Over at the Globe, a certain Mr. Smith has some interesting comments about how publishing decisions are being made at the Big Houses. Given how much attention these — rare and arbitrary-seeming — gigantic advances get, and what kind of impact they have on a fragile literary ecosystem, it’s nice to see someone taking a nuanced look at them.

Have a look here to get a sense of some of the effects of the search for the next “Big Book.”

Once again...Because it's Good for You.

article posted 60 days ago

I’ve seen a few articles like this one appear in recent years, so I guess this isn’t exactly “news”... but it’s always worth reiterating the importance of books, reading and introspection.

This piece is also particularly interesting given how it discusses possible differences in the reading of various kinds of texts.

Beginning with the Mirror News

article posted 60 days ago

Press for my new book of short stories Beginning with the Mirror has started coming in and so far it has been very positive. I’m pleased to share this terrific review in particular with you!
You can find the full text of the review here

Many thanks to the author and the team at Q & Q!

One MORE Point for books...

article posted 97 days ago

Here’s an interesting article on another study indicating there are particular advantages to reading the traditional print book.

Looks like the evidence is beginning to pile up on this one, folks.

Here’s that link again…. and yes, I’m aware of the irony.

Arts Funding, Ethics and Transparency

article posted 130 days ago

Though not a paper I usually read, I did come across this interesting article at the FT site the other day.

Obviously, there are no easy answers to some of the questions around where major cultural institutions get their money. Despite that, it remains vital to keep asking the questions… Which is what the piece does well enough.

Well worth the reading.

Here's an Idea!

article posted 144 days ago

A grant that specifically provides time to recharge the creative battery while soaking up new material: sounds like a great plan to me.

Have a look and see what you think.

But it is hard to argue with the notion that taking in more information and ideas is good for creators, and by extension, for the culture.

Readercon 25 Appearances

article posted 205 days ago

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be attending Readercon, The Conference on Imaginative Literature, over the coming weekend. I’m scheduled for a number of events, including a reading and two panels. Here is my schedule:

Friday July 11
2:00 PM ENV Reading. I will read from either Subtle Bodies or The City’s Gates.

Saturday July 12
10:00 AM F When the Other Is You. Chesya Burke, Samuel Delany, Peter Dubé, Mikki Kendall, Vandana Singh, Sabrina Vourvoulias (leader).

Sunday July 13
10:00 AM F Variations on the Theme of Unreliable Narrators. Peter Dubé, Theodora Goss (leader), Eileen Gunn, Shira Lipkin, Adrienne J. Odasso.

All the details on the Conference can be found here

Hope to see you!