Publishers Weekly Calls on the Association of American Publishers to Stand Against the Repeal of Net Neutrality

Written by Sydney Stewart

The repeal of net neutrality this past December signaled to many the end of the internet as we know it. Critics have declared it a strike against free speech and a point given to private industries looking to gain a profit from the internet that was once free and equal for all to use. The repeal elicited protests and indignation; and yet, from all the voices calling against the repeal, one group has remained shockingly silent—at least according to Publishers Weekly. The magazine recently wrote an editorial calling on the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to issue a statement disapproving of the action to repeal net neutrality, because it puts their industry, and the internet as we know it, at risk.

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Shelving Your Books Backwards and Other Acceptable Practices

Written by Annie Diamond

Look, if your book covers don’t match your décor, what are you to do?

“Shelve your books backwards” is an answer some internet home decorators would propose. A new design trend popping up on social media is displaying the page side of books. As far as I can tell, the discussion revolves around 40% people actually doing it and 60% of people hating the people who do this.

The argument for this practice is primarily based in aesthetics. The original backward-bookers posts usually reference the idea of calming down a room’s color scheme. If the theme of the room is a minimalist neutral, this is a way to display your favorite books without showing that neon orange cover. It also doesn’t hurt anyone. Backward-bookers say they can recognize their favorites from the size, color, and marks on a books front. Some speculate this practice might actually be helpful because it could prevent the discoloration of the book covers.

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How Fiction Does Not Exist In A Vacuum

By Morgan Southworth

A couple of weeks ago, a LitHub article discussed the pros and cons of “Why It’s Ok to Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle Fiction.” The article specifically focused on Sadia Shepard’s recently published short story “Foreign-Returned,” which plucks clear elements from Mavis Gallant’s 1963 short story “The Ice Wagon Going down the Street.” In an interview, Shepard said she owed a “great debt” to Gallant’s story, and that while Gallant’s story is about a family formerly from Geneva currently living in Canada who face financial struggles, she thought it felt “so Pakistani.” This was a clear inspiration for Shepard’s retelling of Gallant’s story.

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How Literature Survives in a World Addicted to Instant Gratification

Written by Grace Mappes

Thanks to technology’s swift evolution and increasing availability, many of us today literally have the world at our fingertips. With just one tap on my phone I can order a textbook, send a transatlantic text, and even tweet the President of the United States directly—all instantaneously. Corporations have fought to keep up with the demand as well; Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping has long been a hallmark of its appeal and they’ve ramped up their efforts even more with select free one-day shipping, same day shipping, and even Prime Now for two-hour delivery. Several other large retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target, have competitively followed suit. It’s safe to say that when one of these orders gets delayed for whatever reason—perhaps a long weekend or inclement weather—our patience can wear thin rather quickly. This form of instant gratification even extends to interacting with others through social media: Twitter has a 280-character limit and one doesn’t need more than a few seconds to view a Snapchat, for example.

So, what does this have to do with literature?

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English Literature in High School: Literature or Civic Engagement?

Written by Guadalupe Rodriguez

Recently, I sat in class for one of my teaching courses which emphasized a desperate need for English teachers to teach tools to students that will help them in civic discourse. As a previous AP Language and Composition student, I got most of that covered—writing an argument, accepting or fighting back against one. Did your English teachers teach this in your high school English class? In this particular session, the professor made a point to say that although literature is good for the soul, helping students learn tools to use for civic discourse is more important.

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Girls Own the Void, and What Lies Beyond

Written by Kylie Warkentin

I read Lynn Steger Strong’s piece, “Why I Wanted to Write About Anger,” on my phone in the small, suffocating apartment my grandmother owns. It feels less like a piece about anger, and more like what would result from a swell of resentment bitten off at the start once you’ve reminded yourself of glasses half full and your best friend’s good morning text. Strong describes her intent as “want[ing] to figure out what’s inside of all that anger” and “want[ing] to write about space and time and feeling like somehow, we’ve always had less of it than our male counterparts.” And I got it—I thought of Audrey Wollen’s Instagram post furiously and in all caps reminding male artists that “NOTHING DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU” and “GIRLS OWN THE VOID”; I thought of a statistic I had once read reporting that 58% of US women cried from feeling helpless as opposed to 23% of men; I thought of how I angrily purse my lips when I hear a whistle and how I clutch at the fabric of my pants when I hear tapping and I turn and inevitably it is a man; and I got it. As I clutched my obnoxiously large phone held in my clammy palm, I got it.

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Journaling as a Writer

Written by Angie Carrera

Journaling is one of the most fulfilling and understated things a writer does. However, this is also one of the activities that makes many writers, myself included, want to bang their heads against the wall, maybe to crack open something worth writing about. For the ordinary person, journaling serves as a cathartic activity that allows a sense of relief—but for the writer, it is much more than that.

You see, writers are a different breed of people that live life according to different standards, and the act of journaling is by no means an exception. Though writing comes naturally for many of us, we still expect those pieces that are meant for ourselves to be of utmost perfection, because in the back of our minds, if someone stumbles upon them, they have to be  ready-to-publish. The thing nobody tells you about journaling? How difficult it is.

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In Defense of Collecting and Rereading

Written by John Calvin Pierce

I’m a book collector, and like many collectors, I don’t always read the books I end up with. At least a third of the books stacked on my shelf exist unturned and untouched. But more often than I’d readily admit, I find myself drawn to a work that I’ve read tens or hundreds of times—even though there’s nothing new in there, even though all the pages are marked and dog-eared, even though the first sentence is practically burned into the backs of my eyelids and shimmers like a neon sign when I lie down to sleep. It could be a security thing—maybe it soothes the mind to see something familiar, to hold the same syllables in the mouth like a prayer.

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