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Category Archives: Dublin’s Weekly Find

How the Author of ‘Quiet’ Delivered a Rousing Speech

Dublin's Weekly FindIn this week’s selection of Dublin’s Weekly Find from 3quarksdaily, Susan Cain, author of Quiet, describes her “Year of Speaking Dangerously,” and how she prepared for her  TED Talk.  Click the link at the end of the excerpt (article originally posted on April 27, 2012) below to read the entire article at The New York Times.

I awoke one January morning from uneasy dreams to find myself transformed. For seven blissful years I had spent my time reading, writing and researching a book about introversion. But the publication date had arrived, the idyll was over and my metamorphosis was complete. I was now that impossibly oxymoronic creature: the Public Introvert. Having never given a single media interview in the first 43 years of my life, I appeared that day on “CBS This Morning” to promote my book, a critique of our overly loquacious culture. Then I shuttled uptown to my publisher’s office to continue talking — for 21 radio interviews. My book is about the power of being quiet. About the perils of a society that appreciates good talkers over good ideas. And about the terrible pressure to entertain, to sell ourselves and never to be visibly anxious. I believe all this passionately — which puts me in an interesting pickle. Promoting my work requires doing the very thing my book questions: putting down my pen and picking up a microphone. Now, in what I’ve come to think of as my Year of Speaking Dangerously, I’ve gone on national TV to talk about being the kind of person who dislikes going on national TV. I let my friends talk me into having a big book party, even though my book advises introverts to stay home on New Year’s Eve if they feel like it (I usually feel like it). And in February I took the stage at the 2012 TED conference before an audience of 1,500 people to critique a society that favors the kind of person who craves an audience.

More from The New York Times here.

Posted by Azra Raza of 3quarksdaily at 6:26 AM on April 28, 2012.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Dublin's Weekly Find

 

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Amazon’s Largess?

Dublin's Weekly FindIn this week’s selection of Dublin’s Weekly Find from 3quarksdaily, Alexander Zaitchik discusses The Brooklyn Book Festival and Amazon’s various grants to many publishing companies, writing programs, and journals.  Click the link at the end of the excerpt (article originally posted on April 8, 2012) below to read the entire article at Salon.

The Brooklyn Book Festival’s website debuts a new feature this year called OnePage. Every week from March through September, OnePage will post part of a previously unpublished work — chunks of correspondence, scenes from books in progress — by authors such as Darcey Steinke, Martha Southgate, Paula Fox and Stefan Merrill Block. There will also be mini-profiles of participating small presses, including indie mainstays McSweeney’s and Akashic. That a Brooklyn book festival would promote small presses and their authors isn’t surprising. But the sponsor of OnePage has raised a few eyebrows. As the festival’s press release noted, “The project is made possible with a grant from Amazon.com.” Yes, much of the literary world is in full-throated revolt against Amazon’s dominance — bookstores fear Amazon will push them out of business, authors worry about deep discounting, and the Department of Justice is considering the major publishers’ challenge over the price of e-books. But amid the public and private rancor, the massive e-retailer is very quietly trying to make friends in the book world. Its strategy is simple and employs a weapon Amazon has in overwhelming supply: Money.

More from Salon here.

Posted by Azra Raza of 3quarksdaily at 7:14 AM on April 12, 2012.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Dublin's Weekly Find

 

The Past Is Never Even Past

Dublin's Weekly FindIn this week’s selection of Dublin’s Weekly Find from 3quarksdaily, Nick Owchar reveiws Peter Silverman’s Leonardo’s Lost Princess and A.S. Byatt’s works Possession and The Children’s Book. Click the link at the end of the excerpt (article originally posted on March 4, 2012) below to read the entire article at the Los Angeles Times.

“The past is never dead,” Faulkner famously wrote in “Requiem for a Nun.” “It’s not even past” — and nothing demonstrates that maxim better than the discovery of a “new” painting by a revered, long-dead artist. Suddenly, it is as if that person is alive and well again and walking among us. Art collector Peter Silverman had such a jolting recognition concerning a painting he saw in the late 1990s and again at a New York City auction in 2007. He was convinced it must have been executed by the one and only Renaissance master from Vinci — a story he relates, with Catherine Whitney, in “Leonardo’s Lost Princess: One Man’s Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo da Vinci” (Wiley: 256 pp., $25.95). The painting that beguiled him — a 9-by-13-inch drawing in chalk and pen and ink — seems hardly dramatic: A young woman in profile, her brown hair bound in ribbons. Simple. Plain. Leonardo? Really?

More from Los Angeles Times here.

Posted by Morgan Meis of 3quarksdaily at 4:42 AM on April 7, 2012.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Dublin's Weekly Find

 

Rethinking The Literature Classroom

Dublin's Weekly FindIn this week’s selection of Dublin’s Weekly Find from 3quarksdaily, Jeff Hudson uses his experience teaching English to discuss how to revamp the literature classroom. Click the link at the end of the excerpt (article originally posted on March 27, 2012) below to read the entire article at Full Stop.

Here is something I know: I feel better when I read — not just good, but better. Anxieties are assuaged, burdens lightened, relationships enriched. I feel part of something hopeful, a connection to the writer, the characters, other readers. I feel smart, if it is okay to say that. I am moved to act after reading — to write, to talk. I have new questions and fresh answers. And I am hardly alone. Anne Lamott knows that “when writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with the absurdity of life instead of being squashed by it over and over again.” After sharing stories, writer Barry Lopez feels exhilarated: “The mundane tasks which awaited me, I anticipated now with pleasure. The stories had renewed in me a sense of the purpose of my life.”

Here is something else I know: the power of literature to “renew a sense of purpose in our lives” gets killed in literature classrooms — unintentionally, no doubt, but killed nonetheless.

More from  Full Stop here.

Posted by Robin Varghese of 3quarksdaily at 4:53 PM on March 28, 2012.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Dublin's Weekly Find

 

Words’ Darwinian Struggle For Survival

In this week’s selection of Dublin’s Weekly Find from 3quarksdaily, Alison Flood discusses a scientific study concerning the life span of words. Click the link at the end of the excerpt (article originally posted on March 21, 2012 below to read the entire article at The Guardian.

Words are competing daily in an almost Darwinian struggle for survival, according to new research from scientists in which they analysed more than 10 million words used over the last 200 years. Drawing their material from Google’s huge book-digitisation project, the international team of academics tracked the usage of every word recorded in English, Spanish and Hebrew over the 209-year period between 1800 and 2008.
More from The Guardian here.

Posted by Azra Raza of 3quarksdaily at 5:03 AM on March 23, 2012.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Dublin's Weekly Find

 

Who Is Peter Pan?

In this week’s selection of Dublin’s Weekly Find from 3quarksdaily, Alison Lurie discusses the identity of Peter Pan. Click the link at the end of the excerpt (article originally posted on April 5, 2012 (future print issue?) below to read the entire article at the NYRB.

A few writers have the kind of power that believers attribute to gods: they create men and women and children who seem to us to be real. But unlike gods, these writers do not control the lives of their most famous creations. As times passes, their tales are told and retold. Writers and dramatists and film-makers kidnap famous characters like Romeo and Juliet, Sherlock Holmes, and Superman; they change the characters’ ages and appearance, the progress and endings of their stories, and even their meanings. One of the characters most frequently kidnapped by writers, dramatists, and filmmakers is James Barrie’s Peter Pan. As a result he and his adventures have become immensely famous: there have been scores, possibly hundreds of dramatizations and condensations, prequels and sequels and spinoffs. Some are interesting and even admirable, but there have also been many cheap and even vulgar versions.

More from the NYRB here.

Posted by Morgan Meis of 3quarksdaily at 1:00 AM on March 16, 2012.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Dublin's Weekly Find

 

Wise Guy

In this week’s selection of Blacklin’s Weekly Find from 3quarksdaily, Walter Isaacson reviews Bettany Hughes’ The Hemlock Cup, a biography about Socrates. Click the link at the end of the excerpt (article originally posted on February 18, 2011) below to read the entire article at the NYT.

The problem with writing a biography of Socrates, as Bettany Hughes merrily admits, is that he’s a “doughnut subject”: a rich and tasty topic with a big hole right in the middle where the main character should be. Despite his fame and his insistence on an examined life, Socrates never wrote anything, and our knowledge of him comes mainly from three contemporaries — his devoted pupils Plato and Xenophon, and the parodist Aristophanes — each of whom had his own agenda. He produced no great answers, only great questions, and the most enduring image we have of his life is his leaving of it, as the title of this book suggests.

How do we examine the life of the man who told us that the unexamined life was not worth living? Hughes, a British television host and popular historian known for her book on Helen of Troy, does it by concentrating on the shape of the doughnut around the hole. She outlines Socrates mainly by describing the sights, sounds, mores and facts that surrounded him. For the most part, Hughes is successful, and even when not, she’s fascinating. What we get in “The Hemlock Cup” is many books interlaced: a biography of Socrates; a gritty description of daily life in Athens; a vivid history of the Peloponnesian War and its aftereffects; and — as an unexpected delight — a guide to museums, archaeological digs and repositories of ancient artifacts, as Hughes takes us by the hand while ferreting out her evidence. At one point we travel with her to the rear of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, to study a scrap of papyrus — Fragment 4807 — in the Sackler Library. It contains some lines, apparently by Sophocles, casting light on what life may have been like during the Peloponnesian War.
More from the NYT here.

Posted by Azra Raza of 3quarksdaily at 8:30 AM on February 19, 2011.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2011 in Dublin's Weekly Find

 

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