Have you ever run across one of those opinion pieces where you understand exactly where the author is coming from but realise they are shaking the wrong end of the stick? Well, I found one of those pieces on how people have stopped reading novels. Apparently. The article starts strongly, outlining the evidence for the … Continue reading We’ve stopped reading… Apparently.
There’s a famous quote from one of my favourite thinkers, Bertrand Russell, on reading. He posits that the two reasons for reading are for enjoyment and that you can boast about having read something. Let’s face it, he was correct. I’ve previously discussed the reading statistics that show we primarily read for enjoyment but also … Continue reading The top 10 books people claim to read but haven’t
A recent article in The Conversation caused a bit of a stir. Titled Old white men dominate school English booklists. It’s time more Australian schools taught Australian books it was bound to ruffle some easily offended feathers. The article itself was a fairly standard call for greater diversity in school texts. It’s an old discussion that … Continue reading School Literature
Back a few years ago, the Nobel committee created a minor furore for awarding Bob Dylan – known for his performances in Hearts of Fire* and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – a Nobel Prize in Literature. At the time, PBS Ideas Channel had an interesting take on this contentious topic. And as is … Continue reading What even is literature?
Choke by Stuart Woods My rating: 3 of 5 stars Given the title, you’d think at least one person would be strangled in this story. Former Wimbledon contender and now tennis club pro, Chuck Chandler, has moved to Key West after sleeping with the wrong person’s wife. Learning from his recent lesson, he starts sleeping … Continue reading Book review: Choke by Stuart Woods
This month Lindsay Ellis discusses the Literary Cannon, or how books become “worthy“, in It’s Lit. I swear that when I started posting these videos that I didn’t know the series would cover one of my pet topics. Worthiness, important books, snobbery, guilty pleasures, are all things I love to bang on about. This video … Continue reading Why did I have to read that book in high school?
When do people start to hate reading? For us readers, the answer is “Never! How could you ask such a silly question? What’s wrong with you? Do you even book, bro?” But the reality is that a significant chunk of the population have not read a book in the last year, and/or aren’t regular readers. … Continue reading Loving reading and book wardens
Every now and then I like to look back through older posts on my blog. It’s a form of masochism built upon equal parts fascination with forgotten ideas and revulsion at missed typos and awkwardly phrased run on sentences that really don’t know when to end, that should have ended sooner, and aren’t something I … Continue reading Are e-readers filled with garbage?
Sounds like a simple challenge, right? Name a book, any book at all. In the long tradition of asking Americans general knowledge questions on the street and filming their glorious ignorance, I present this video from Jimmy Kimmel. Before we all laugh and point at the Americans and insult their intelligence, let’s remember that you … Continue reading Can you name a book?
Do you like comics? I’m not talking about movies based on comics. I’m not talking about comic fandom that can only be solved Utopia style. I’m talking about the art of storytelling that only the mix of art and narrative can manage. How Utopia deals with comic fans: I have previously discussed how some fail … Continue reading The Art of Comics
Two months ago (November 2017) the Western Australian Government released its Writing Sector Review. Okay, most of the readers here are international, so you’re probably shrugging your shoulders and reaching for an atlas – atlases are still a thing, right? But after my recent post on support for the arts (I was in favour as … Continue reading Writing in Western Australia
Literary Fiction in Crisis was the headline lede for a series of articles in The Guardian last month. Long known as a balanced and inclusive arts publication (/sarcasm) they sought to highlight a serious problem and a solution for literary fiction. In case you haven’t heard, people aren’t reading literary fiction. Book sales are dropping. … Continue reading Literary Fiction in Crisis
The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft My rating: 4 of 5 stars Why choose the lesser evil? Vote Cthulhu. Francis Thurston starts fossicking through his uncle’s things and discovers some notes and a carving. Fascinated, he searches high and low to uncover the origins of the carving. Soon he is traversing the world to … Continue reading Book Review: The Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft
Do you like backhanded compliments? Do you like to make basic mistakes and misrepresentations of the entertainment industry? Well, you’ll love this article by Nick Cohen. The genius of bad books By Nick Cohen From James Bond to Jack Reacher, we’re suckers for an uncomplicated hero. But there is an art to the action novel, … Continue reading Let’s bash the ‘airport’ novel
Us readers know how awesome we are. And if we ever socially interacted with people everyone would realise that. We also want to know that we’re not alone. In a holistic sense. Obviously alone in the physical sense because otherwise, someone would try to interrupt our reading. Sensing our need for connection to a nationwide … Continue reading Who Reads?
I recently reblogged an article from The Conversation about how awesome the Harry Potter books are, but how snobby (some?) literary people are about them. The vitriol and chastisement of the Harry Potter books remind me of a time when I too was not on the Potter bandwagon. Oh, how wrong I was. Stupid kid’s … Continue reading That isn’t literature too
Platform 9 and ¾, the portal to Harry Potter’s magical world, at Kings Cross in London. Harry Potter image from http://www.shutterstock.com Di Dickenson, Western Sydney University It’s 20 years on June 26 since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first in the seven-book series. The Philosopher’s Stone has sold more than … Continue reading As Harry Potter turns 20, let’s focus on reading pleasure rather than literary merit
When I think of literature I think of an older guy sporting a greying moustache, sipping a sherry, wearing a smoking jacket, seated in a library of leather-bound books in front of a simmering log fire. The guy speaks with an aristocratic English accent and expounds on the greatness of some book that other older … Continue reading That isn’t literature
PBS Ideas Channel had an interesting take on this contentious topic. And as is always the case, it isn’t really that simple. I’m near the front of the queue to criticise literature for being a dry and dreary form of art that sucks the life out of its audience. But of course, as Mike discusses … Continue reading Are Bob Dylan Lyrics Literature?
The White Australia Policy was a fantastic piece of legislation that was brought in just after Australia’s federation in 1901. Back then it was popular to think that Aboriginals didn’t exist, or weren’t worthy of acknowledgement, and women were still a year away from full voting rights nationwide. Great time to be alive. After the … Continue reading Why did Australia abolish the White Australia Policy?