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review 2018-12-08 11:35
D-Cups: "The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction" by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction - Ursula K. Le Guin;Susan Wood

(Original Review, 1981-04-01)

My understanding of close reading was what I described in another review gleaning from Empson, and I never intended to dismiss the idea of finding archetypes in literary characters. As far as that goes, I might put myself much closer to the other extreme and be tempted to say: every story contains archetypes because we have nothing else to tell stories about; even non-fiction stories are told primarily if not exclusively about real people who embody archetypes.

I’m now reading a collection of essays by Ursula K. Le Guin, “Language of the Night,” and she offers an interesting take on many of these issues from the writer’s point of view. She acknowledges the appearance of archetypes in her stories, but, with what she considers her best work, the story comes from within her and only after it is written does she recognize the archetype that inspired it:

“The writer who draws not upon the works and thoughts of others, but upon his own thoughts and his own deep being, will inevitably hit upon common material. The more original his work, the more imperiously recognizable it will be.”



If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-11-29 21:24
The acting bug
So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know - Retta

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know by Retta is a memoir written in essay form (seems to be the popular format these days). [A/N: If you're unfamiliar with Retta, she played the character of Donna Meagle on Parks & Recreation.]  This book is written more like a friend talking than anything else. While I was reading, I kept wishing that I'd chosen to consume this in audiobook format instead because I think it suits that medium better. (Honestly, I found this book a bit tedious and I'd like to blame it on the written formatting.) Retta covers the gamut from her childhood and what it was like being raised as an immigrant to this country (her family is from Liberia) to her career as an actress being continually put into a box by Hollywood. After reading Amy Poehler's memoir it's impossible for me not to compare the two and this in no way comes close to the awesomeness of that book. It was funny and I especially enjoyed her views on what it's like being a plus sized woman of color working as an actress in Hollywood but it didn't blow me away like Yes, Please. A solid 5/10. 


What's Up Next: El Deafo by Cece Bell


What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-11-23 14:15
Review of At Large and At Small by Anne Fadiman
At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays - Anne Fadiman

I love reading essays by Anne Fadiman.  She writes well and I appreciate her intellectual curiosity for the world around us.  These essays are about a variety of topics.  I most enjoyed the ones that dealt with writing, reading, and the historical quirks of authors she has studied and admired.  Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys literature.

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text 2018-10-03 11:37
Activity Your Ideas Into Books

Maybe you’re one of those lucky writers whose head is bursting with ideas. Or perhaps you have one idea that’s been nagging you for weeks, always at the edge of your thoughts. Either artifact, you’re itching to begin writing. That’s good. But before you rush headlong into your account, act and ask yourself one question: Is this just an idea, or is it a book?

Ideas, of course, are the seeds of any activity of fiction or nonfiction. But until an idea is fully developed, until you can envision its beginning, middle and end, that one idea might not be enough. The experience of writing for pages about an idea and finally getting nowhere (or getting a pile of rejections) has taught many writers to outline their books before they begin. Many writers also write college essays and then start writing own books. If you need some college essay writing go there to buy. But if the cerebration of an outline sends shivers up your spine, at least cerebration your idea finished and making careful it merits months of writing can economise you future frustration.

Ideas for Fiction

A lot of writers, especially when they’re beginners, get ideas for fiction from their own lives. This can be functional for various reasons: you’re emotionally invested in the issue, you can relate directly to the main character, and if the situation actually happened to you, you’re less likely to be unconsciously basing the account on a book you’ve read. But remember, just because you find this abstraction that happened to you or your child fascinating, it doesn’t mean it will be fascinating to thousands of potential readers. Real often, a real-life event is just that–an event. It’s a vivid environment you recall with pleasure, or a family joke that’s repeated over and over. It evokes alcoholic emotions when you remember it, perhaps you even look back on an event as a corner in your life. But only rarely does reality provide a plot.

When writers adhere also closely to what really happened they fail to develop the elements necessary for a good account: a believable main character who is faced with a problem or conflict, mounting tension as that character tries to solve her problem and experiences setbacks, and a tension- filled climax followed by a resolution that’s solid to the character and the reader. If your main character is really your son, you might not deprivation to get him in ail or communicate rocks in his path. But you have to. It’s the only artifact you’ll create a account that will keep readers hooked and inquisitive how it will end.

Address of endings, if the resolution of your account comes also easily, it’s probably obvious and predictable. Attempt mixing up real life and have the situation evolve in a different direction. Attack yourself, and you’ll attack an editor.

However you get your idea, focus first on whether it’s a plot or a theme. Many times, an initial idea is really the implicit meaning of the account, what the author wants to convey to the reader. Themes should be coupling in their appeal– much as friendship, appreciating one’s own strengths, not judging others also quickly. So play around with the film of events until you develop a plot (what actually happens in the book) that makes this theme clear to the reader. And remember; if you’re exploitation a childhood incident as the foundation of your account, tell it from your childhood stand, not how it feels to you now as an adult.

Ideas for Nonfiction

Your nonfiction book should be based on something you’re truly interested in and passionate about. After all, you’ll be living with this idea for many months. The key to booming nonfiction is to accept your idea and approach it in a artifact that no one else has ever done before. This means doing most of your research before you begin to compose. Don’t bench for the most easily-found information on your topic–your readers have probably read the same information. Keep digging until you find an aspect to your case that strikes you as single. So examine finished the library and book stores to make careful no one else has already beat you thereto.

For a nonfiction idea to become a book, you need enough information to fill the number of pages necessary, depending on the age group for which you plan to compose. Younger children need a foundation of basic facts, but you can also get fairly detailed inside the scope of the approach you’ve chosen as long as you explain concepts in a simple and direct manner (how animals hibernate, why insects are different colors). Older readers can draw on a broader foundation of knowledge, and infer connections between your issue and related subjects. A detailed outline of any nonfiction book is essential to help you accompany if your idea has enough capital and originality, or if you need further research before you begin writing.

Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, your idea should mean something to you, but also have the potential to mean a lot to your readers. Believe it finished, add thereto, accept the nonessential elements away, and make careful it has a beginning, middle and end. Only so will your “idea” activity into “an idea for a book.”

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review 2018-09-30 19:15
Not That Bad
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture - Roxane Gay

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

This collection of essays is a very enlightening one: about people who were raped and/or sexually assaulted, about those who work with them, about the rape culture that permeates so many places and societies.

The latter especially is worth mentioning, because little gestures, little ‘jokes’, everyday sexism and attitudes and ‘if you wear those clothes then You’re Asking For It’ sayings are the foundations of something deeper, something that leads to rape, and make it so that no matter what, the victims are still the ones who have to justify themselves. Justify the amount of times they said ‘no’; or whether they said it clearly enough (apparently, for many people, a woman who says no actually means yes… and they never question it, and therefore make a decision based on what they want to hear). Justify and quantify their pain: if it was ‘so bad’, shouldn’t they be dead? And, since they aren't, shouldn’t they be grateful that ‘at least they’re not dead’ (as if that could erase and negate what was done to them)? As if this was but a trifle, something that you just can, and have to, get over with, because mentioning it will Make Other People Uncomfortable.

I guess I should be grateful that the ‘only’ aggression I had to go through dealt with random guys deciding that fondling my thigh in the train was something they had a God-given right to do. Or grateful that they ‘only’ flashed their dick in front of my face. It wasn’t ‘that bad’, right? Well, screw that. At the root of it, our stupid, crappy society is still stuck on Man Sees, Man Takes (sometimes women do that, too, but it’s nevertheless much more often the other way ‘round, because Boys Will Be Boys, and all that rubbish we dump into boys’ heads when they’re still so little). And as long as we don’t wake up and grow up for a change, this won’t go away.

The styles are varied, by various authors (female, male, trans), including even an essay in comics format, while being close enough to clearly resonate as a whole. They read quickly and easily in terms of grammar/vocabulary, and yet remain powerful and hard to stomach as well, due to the theme they explore and the pain they deal with, whether they are actually depressing or carrying some form of hope.

These essays are definitely worth reading: as an eye opener for some, as a reminder in general of what is at stake, of the day to day attitudes towards sexual harassment, of all the tiny ways well-meaning people can and will say/do the wrong things.

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