2018: the Year of Short-Story Vending Machines

Written by Morgan Southworth

In 2015, there were only a few machines in France that produced short stories at the press of a button. Today, there are copies of these machines around the world, with thirty in the United States alone.

The concept is simple: Short Edition, a French publishing company, began creating machines that print short stories you could read on the go. These machines are located in public places like hotels, museums, train stations, etc. A short story—varying from one to three to five minutes in length—is printed from an online database of more than 100,000 submissions chosen from various writing contests and picked by Short Edition’s judges. These stories are printed on a long piece of paper resembling a receipt, and the stories printed are chosen at random. You won’t know what kind of story you have until you read it. The condensed length makes these stories very accessible to non-readers or to those in a rush. Even if the story does not contain a plot or theme you are normally fond of, the stories are easily digestible and will keep you entertained while you wait for the bus or take a quick break before continuing your errands. The next story you print is just as likely to be up your particular genre-loving alley as not, so there’s no reason not to come back for more.

Continue reading “2018: the Year of Short-Story Vending Machines”

Could Vandalizng Books Make You a More Authentic Reader?

Written by Caitlin Smith

Earlier this month, Georgia Grainger, an employee of Dundee, Scotland’s Charleston Library, found herself in the middle of a literary mystery. A patron came to her with an odd question: why did all of the seventh pages in the books she had been checking out have the seven underlined? Turns out the answer is pretty simple: elderly library patrons keep track of the books they’ve read with small markings, so they don’t wind up with the same book a second time.

Continue reading “Could Vandalizng Books Make You a More Authentic Reader?”

Sexual Assault Scandal Spurs Head of Nobel Selection Committee to Resign

Written by Grace Mappes

The Swedish Academy is one of the most prestigious literary institutions in the world. Per the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will, the eighteen-member academy votes on the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in a secret ballot every year. But this year, in the wake of the #MeToo scandals, sexual assault allegations threaten to tear this centuries-old institution apart.

Continue reading “Sexual Assault Scandal Spurs Head of Nobel Selection Committee to Resign”

Lola by Junot Diaz: Reshaping the Children’s Book Industry

Written by Kiran Gokal

Junot Diaz, the Dominican-American author of renowned books This Is How You Lose Her and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, recently released a children’s book called Islandborn which focuses on six-year-old Lola, an Afro-Caribbean girl who came over to the United States so young that she has no memories of the island where she was born. At the Texas Library Association this past Thursday, Diaz spoke about his children’s book and not only his own connection to it, but the importance of it within the children’s book industry. The narrative of the novel follows Lola and her fellow classmates, all children who are from somewhere else, as they’re asked to draw a picture of their “first country.” Lola, not recalling any memories of her own, must reconstruct hers by drawing on those of her relatives to remind herself of and to illustrate her home country.

Continue reading “Lola by Junot Diaz: Reshaping the Children’s Book Industry”

African-American-Owned Bookstores on the Rise

Written by Katie Martinez

The number of bookstores owned by African Americans has increased recently from around fifty-four in 2014 to about one hundred and eight today, according to an article in Publishers Weekly.

As many people continue to turn to the internet with sites like Amazon for their literary needs, many of these smaller bookstores are learning how to compete and thrive in the constantly changing market. One bookstore in Washington, D.C., provides tablets to patrons in the store in order to help them find the book they’re looking for. Even the nation’s oldest African-American-owned bookstore is adapting to the increasingly tech-centered industry by emphasizing its online presence. Along with implementing these adaptations, the rise of African American bookstores has also often been associated with the visibility and success of African-American-centered politics.

Continue reading “African-American-Owned Bookstores on the Rise”

Our Bodies, Ourselves—and Our Future, as the Eponymous Publication Announces No New Editions

Written by Abby Adamo

Today we discuss the end of the forty-year run of Our Bodies, Ourselves and what it means for the next generation of women who will grow up without this book updated and in circulation. But first: a story. During my first year of middle school I got a call on my pink razr cell phone from my best friend, asking if I knew what masturbation was because people were starting to talk about it and she was too embarrassed to ask anyone else. I told her, truthfully, that I was at a bakery with my mom and so I couldn’t talk at the moment but would get back to her when I got home. I knew what masturbation was, obviously, it’s just that my mom was around, which would be, you know, awkward. I got home and flipped my parents’ massive, leather-bound dictionary to “ma-” and texted my friend, “um it’s like stimulation of your own genital organs commonly resulting in orgasm and achieved by manual contact, or whatever.” We were both products of the Texas sexual education system and were growing up in a post-internet, pre-smartphone era, when all web history was saved on our family computers. Needless to say, we could have greatly benefited from the guidance of Our Bodies, Ourselves, a book often referred to as the women’s sexual health bible. Fortunately, a search through the health and sexuality section of Barnes and Noble two years later brought us the gospel.

Continue reading “Our Bodies, Ourselves—and Our Future, as the Eponymous Publication Announces No New Editions”

University of Hawai’i to Digitize 22 Out-of-Print Books

Written by Andi Feddeler

As MobyLives recently reported, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which aims to strengthen and defend humanities and arts through grants and funding to higher institutions, awarded the University of Hawai’i Press a $100,000 grant in order to digitize and distribute twenty-two books that had gone out of print. The Mellon Foundation has partnered with the National Endowment for the Humanities in order to establish the  Humanities Open Book Program, which works to make out-of-print books available to larger audiences.

Continue reading “University of Hawai’i to Digitize 22 Out-of-Print Books”

Brontë Society to Publish Two Lost Charlotte Brontë Manuscripts

Written by Kendall Talbot

I thought I had experienced everything there was to experience regarding the Brontës: I have read all their published work, studied their lives in a class dedicated solely to them, and even made a literary pilgrimage to their home in Haworth (yes, the moors are as bleak and melancholy as Emily Brontë makes them out to be). So you can imagine my delight upon learning that there would soon be more of the Brontës for me to devour. MobyLives recently reported that two lost Charlotte Brontë manuscripts, a seventy-seven-line poem and a seventy-four-line story, will be published by the Brontë Society later this year.

Continue reading “Brontë Society to Publish Two Lost Charlotte Brontë Manuscripts”