Articles on writing, memoirs, fiction, agents, etc.
"THE OAKLAND apartment of Martha Mueller and her daughter, Nora, teems with books and magazines. Their library consists of fiction and nonfiction books, cookbooks and teen novels. Martha, a librarian, says she'll read just about anything.
"It can be the subject matter that attracts me or that perfectly written first sentence," she says.
She comprehends what she reads, too. Ask for her thoughts on the Millennium Trilogy by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, for example, and she'll weave a tale about how the books, while interesting reads, seem overly violent. The main character is a victim, she says, and a sad one at that.
While Mueller loves sitting down with a good book, she may represent a vanishing breed. ...
"An unread book is all possible stories. It contains all possible characters, styles, genres, turns of phrase, metaphors, speech patterns, and profound life-changing revelations. An unread book exists only in the primordial soup of your imagination, and there it can evolve into any story you like. An unread book – any unread book – could change your life.
Like most readers, I love browsing in bookshops and libraries. I like to run my fingers along the spines and read titles and authors' names. I pull the books out and flip through them, thinking about the stories inside them, the things I would learn from them, how my life would be subtly but surely different after I had read them. Sometimes I buy or borrow the books and read them. As much as I enjoy the books, I often find that the book I have read is somehow not as exciting as the book I had imagined reading. No book is ever quite as good as it potentially could have been. ...
"When the sum total of human knowledge rests an arm's length away in each person's pocket, why do we have to remember anything anymore?
On an average day most of us check our smartphones 47 times, and nearly double that if we're between the ages of 18 and 24, which might explain why some of us have such a hard time processing the information we take in to form memories. Smartphones alter the way we walk, talk and think, and we're barely keeping up.
"Everything is available through a Google search almost instantaneously, so what motive do you have to store useless info?" said Joseph LeDoux, who directs New York University's Emotional Brain Institute. ...
“Today in England we think as little of art as though we had been caught up from earth and set in some windy side street of the universe among the stars. Disgust at the daily deathbed which is Europe has made us hunger and thirst for the kindly ways of righteousness, and we want to save our souls. And the immediate result of this desire will probably be a devastating reaction towards conservatism of thought and intellectual stagnation. Not unnaturally we shall scuttle for safety towards militarism and orthodoxy. Life will be lived as it might be in some white village among English elms; while the boys are drilling on the green we shall look up at the church spire and take it as proven that it is pointing to God with final accuracy. ... ”
“I THINK IN PICTURES. Words are like a second language to me. I translate both spoken and written words into full-color movies, complete with sound, which run like a VCR tape in my head. When somebody speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures. Language-based thinkers often find this phenomenon difficult to understand, but in my job as an equipment designer for the livestock industry, visual thinking is a tremendous advantage.Visual thinking has enabled me to build entire systems in my imagination. During my career I have designed all kinds of equipment, ranging from corrals for handling cattle on ranches to systems for handling cattle and hogs during veterinary procedures and slaughter. I have worked for many major livestock companies. ...”
Beginning with Aristotle, the first logician to name fallacies, most logicians who have studied fallacies have classified them into types. Aristotle classified his list of fallacies into two types:
- Linguistic: Those that depend on language.
- Non-linguistic: Those that do not depend on language.
Subsequent logicians have usually extended Aristotle's classification by subdividing the second, non-linguistic, category into sub-categories―for instance, fallacies of relevance and fallacies of presumption. However, most such classifications have remained relatively "flat", with all fallacies on the same level. Unfortunately, a flat classification does not do justice to the complexity of the logical relations between different fallacies.
The Fallacy Files Taxonomy is a tree-like structure that classifies all of the fallacies in these files by the sub-fallacy relation. ...
"It must be obvious to anyone who has been following this series that I have an unabashed affection for the old guard of book publishing—and an endless appetite for their insights, their war stories, and their wisdom. But after a year in which "change" of one kind or another was never far from anybody's thoughts, it occurred to me that the series could use a shake-up. Why not give the graybeards a breather and talk with some younger agents and editors? And while I was at it, wouldn't it be more valuable to writers if I could get a few drinks in them first?
With that idea in mind, I asked the editors of this magazine to select four up-and-coming literary agents...