Facebook Student Projects

In the past few hours, I’ve gotten Friend requests from Jay Gatsby and Nick Carroway, as well as a a shady “Narrator Man” who calls himself invisible, and is a member of The Brotherhood. My students in an American Lit class have been working on a creative interpretation of a work of literature, and several have chosen to use Facebook. 

the fiction circus

Most small publishers only received letters from Google last week asking them to contact their out-of-print authors and let them know that soon their rights will revert to Google unless they “opt out” immediately. This gives small publishers two weeks to track down their writers, many of whom spend at least half the year in an alcoholic coma. They will not succeed at this. Many writers will not know what…

Career Advice: Boring Within or Simply Boring?

My class topic today was an introduction to oral presentations for a freshman writing course. The students had already given informal four-minute practice presentations earlier in the term, but they’re gearing up for a more formal presentation. So this article comes at a good time for me. The ability to give an engaging lecture doesn’t come shrink-wrapped with your graduate diploma. Nor does it necessarily come with experience; some of…

Google Book Search settlement gives Google a virtual monopoly over literature – Boing Boing

Another thought-provoking link from BoingBoing. Maybe the language is a bit alarmist, but that’s what gets the linkers linking. The Authors Guild — which represents a measly 8000 writers — brought a class action against Google on behalf of all literary copyright holders, even the authors of the millions of “orphan works” whose rightsholders can’t be located. Once that class was certified, whatever deal Google struck with the class became…


We Didn't Start the Flame War

We Didn’t Start the Flame War. (Don’t listen to this one with urchins underfoot.) College Humor does not pull its punches when it satirizes (and celebrates) the depths to which human nature can stoop when participating in discussion threads. (My favorite bit is the Rick Astley impersonator, a reference to an internet meme of the recent past.)


Why Dead Authors Can Thrill Modern Readers

An interesting introduction to literary Darwinism, from LiveScience.com: Carroll hypothesized that modern readers would gravitate toward protagonists who displayed pro-social tendencies or promoted group cooperation — similar to how ancestral human hunter-gatherers valued such behavior. He joined forces with another Literary Darwinist, Jonathan Gottschall, as well as two evolutionary psychologists on the study. Their online survey asked respondents to identify characters from classic 19th century British novels as protagonists, antagonists,…


The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow: Icelandic bromance, with weapons, secret panels, and justice

I try to read to my kids for an hour every night — sometimes two hours, if we time everything right.  Whenever I need about 20 minutes to do a load of laundry or make a phone call, I tell the kids “It’s time for the book game,” which involves each child picking a book for Peter to read to Carolyn. (Berenstein Bears and Magic School Bus titles are still…