The Little Blue Books That Made French Literature Mainstream

In 1602, brothers Jean and Nicolas Oudot were printers in Troyes, and sustainably minded to boot. Using recycled paper from previously published books, the innovative printmakers created low quality, travel-sized brochures, protected with covers made from used sugarloaf packaging the color of faded denim. These updated editions of classic texts (think fun-sized SparkNotes) this small-format printing model birthed were thus named livres bleus (blue books). Blue books, and the broader Bibliothèque bleue (blue library) publishing house, were made possible through the Oudot brothers’ association with the family of Claude Garnier, who was a Renaissance-era printer of popular literature himself, primarily for the king of France.

Continue @ Atlas Obscura

Judy Blume wants to know which of her books you want to see adapted

Earlier this week, EW compiled a list of 50 books that deserve to be adapted into a TV show or movie. The list of great books that haven’t yet been adapted is, of course, even longer than that. The stories of Judy Blume, for instance, have remained on the page despite millions of sales and dozens of awards. That might change soon, however. Blume tweeted on Thursday that she was meeting with “many talented people” in Los Angeles about possible adaptations. She even asked her followers to chime in with suggestions for which of her books they would like to see on screen.

Continue @ EW.com

Does Literature Help Us Live?

Is literature wise? In the sense, does it help us to live? And if not, what exactly is it good for?

One way into that question might be to look at how great writers themselves have benefited. Or haven’t. The situation is not immediately promising, since the list of writers who committed suicide, from Seneca the Younger to David Foster Wallace, would be long; Nerval, Hemingway, Plath, Pavese, Zweig, Mayakovsky, and Woolf all spring to mind. But I suppose you could argue that there are situations where suicide is the wise decision, or that without literature these talented people might have gone much earlier. The list of those who have driven themselves to an unhappy death would likely be longer still. Dickens, Tolstoy, Joyce, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Henry Green, Elsa Morante, and Dylan Thomas arguably fall in that category. Not to mention those forever frustrated by insufficient recognition and other occupational hazards; the gloom of Giacomo Leopardi would appear to have been oceanic. It is not that there aren’t cases of writers who have approached the end of their lives happily enough—Victor Hugo, Alberto Moravia, Natalia Ginzburg, Fyodor Dostoevsky of all unlikely candidates, even that great pessimist Thomas Hardy—simply that a few moments reflection will suffice to convince us that being a fine writer does not necessarily mean being “skilful” in the Buddhist sense of acting in such a way as to foster serenity, joy, happiness.

Continue @ The New York Review of Books

The public library was never just about books

On July 21, Forbes published a piece by economist Panos Mourdoukoutas arguing that Amazon stores should replace public libraries. The backlash was rapid and unforgiving; library-lovers from around the world responded with angry tweets, and Forbes removed the piece two days later. Yet the article highlights a concerning fact: Too many Americans misunderstand the role of the public library.

The library is not a warehouse of books like Amazon, a tech developer like Apple or a cafe like Starbucks. It is a public institution of learning predicated on the principle that all Americans should be able to access information, education and culture free of cost. In practice, the unique mission of the public library leads to a distinct set of services, ranging from book-lending to computer- and English- language classes. The growing diversity of library activities is not a means of compensating for the rise of the Internet or a decline in the number of library users. Libraries have been re-inventing their programs for over a century in an effort to advance the same old mission: information for all.

Continue @ Baltimore Sun

First ever AR-powered novel to open Sprung ghosthunting series

Carlton is to publish its most expensively originated book on Super Thursday (4th October), an augmented reality (AR) novel for children. The Ghostkeeper’s Journal Field Guide, written and produced by Carlton’s digital director Japhet Asher (pictured), is an immersive adventure for readers aged 10 and up, priced at £14.99.

The book builds on Carlton’s AR range, with the publisher having sold more than four million copies of such titles around the world, including Jurassic World, Bugs and Alien, through retail or coedition partners. It also represents a change for the mainly non-fiction publisher—Asher said the title was the “first ever augmented reality powered novel”.

Continue @ The Bookseller-Jul 30, 2018

Meet the YouTube Stars Turning Viewers Into Readers

When Christine Riccio was a teenager growing up in New Jersey, she and her sister would upload videos to YouTube of the two of them being silly, dancing to Britney Spears’s “Piece of Me” or attempting a back flip. It wasn’t until Ms. Riccio was in college in 2010 that she “actually talked to the camera” for the first time and decided to upload a video book review of Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games.”

“I was reading a lot of books, and I had no one to discuss them with,” she said, explaining why she turned to the internet. “I was like, ‘I’ll be lucky if I ever get 500 subscribers over here.’”

Continue @ New York Times

New Study: Trigger Warnings Might Make People Less Resilient to Trauma

TW

Academic trigger warnings—notes of caution that inform students about emotionally disturbing content ahead of time—may “present nuanced threats” to psychological resilience, according to a study that raises important questions about an increasingly controversial classroom practice.

The study was authored by a team of Harvard researchers and will appear in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. (Reason obtained and reviewed an unedited version.) The study does not deal trigger warnings anything close to a fatal blow, but it does yield credence to the theory that forewarning students about challenging material may fail to prepare them for life’s challenges.

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Why Doctors Should Read Fiction

The poet William Carlos Williams reads to two young actors

The annals of literature are packed with writers who also practiced medicine: Anton Chekhov, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Carlos Williams, John Keats, William Somerset Maugham, and on and on. As doctors, they saw patients at their most vulnerable, and their medical training gave them a keen eye for observing people and what makes them tick.

But if studying medicine is good training for literature, could studying literature also be good training for medicine? A new paper in Literature and Medicine, “Showing That Medical Ethics Cases Can Miss the Point,” argues yes. In particular, it proposes that certain literary exercises, like rewriting short stories that involve ethical dilemmas, can expand doctors’ worldviews and make them more attuned to the dilemmas real patients face.

Continue @ The Atlantic