Summary of “Why Was “Sweet Valley High” So Relatable?”

My school transcripts might suggest otherwise, but I know in my heart that I attended Sweet Valley High.
For those who weren’t there, or choose not to remember, Sweet Valley was the fictional town created by New York author Francine Pascal, and the setting for a series of young adult books that shook the world for generations of readers.
I read the Sweet Valley High books in a feverish rush in my tween years, tearing through the initial series after evening prep but before the bell for lights-out rang, and then waiting until it was safe to continue reading by flashlight, hidden by my pillow.
Society in Sweet Valley wasn’t so dissimilar to society in Lagos.
Sweet Valley High was comfortable for me: an escape to a destination that I already knew my way around.
This was reflected in how we read the books – Sweet Valley High was not on any curriculum, so book drops were limited.
I read all the Sweet Valley High books, and when I exhausted that resource, I enrolled at Sweet Valley University, too.
I briefly watched the TV series that was based on the books, and when Francine Pascal announced a return to Sweet Valley with an original sequel, Sweet Valley Confidential, in 2011, I squealed with glee in a voice that came straight from 1996.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Velocity of Being: Illustrated Letters to Children about Why We Read by 121 of the Most Inspiring Humans in Our World – Brain Pickings”

If eight years ago, someone had told me that A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader would take eight years, I would have laughed, then cried, then promptly let go of the dream.
The gesture is inspired in large part by James Baldwin’s moving recollection of how he used the library to read his way from Harlem to the literary pantheon and Ursula K. Le Guin’s insistence that “a great library is freedom.”
Growing up in communist Bulgaria, the daughter of an engineer father and a librarian mother who defected to computer software, I don’t recall being much of an early reader – a literary debt I seem to have spent the rest of my life repaying.
Some of my happiest memories are of being read to – most deliciously by my grandmother.
Very notion of reading – of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual surrender to a cohesive thread of thought composed by another human being, through which your own interior world can undergo a symphonic transformation – was becoming tattered by the fragment fetishism of the web.
What better way of doing that than by inviting people cherished for having such lives – celebrated artists, writers, scientists, and cultural heroes of various stripes – to share their stories and sentiments about how reading shaped them? After all, we read what we are as much as we are what we read. So began an eight-year adventure of reaching out to some of the people we most admired, inviting each to write a short letter to the young readers of today and tomorrow about how reading sculpted their character and their destiny.
From these micro-memoirs and reflections by lifelong readers who have made extraordinary lives for themselves emerges a kind of encyclopedia of personhood, an atlas of possibility for the land of being mapped through the land of literature.
I invite you to enjoy A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader and gift it to every reader in your life, young and grown, knowing that each copy will contribute to the thriving of the public library system that ensures equal access to books for all, and that the letters and art on these pages will – I hope, I trust – long outlive us all, delighting and inspiring generations to come.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Brand New Interview with David Foster Wallace”

There’s some fiction that’s very good that I think is trying to be difficult by putting the reader through certain sorts of exercises.
I’m not one of those, so within the camp people usually talk about me being one of the more accessible ones, but that camp itself is not regarded as very accessible and I think it tends to be read by people who have had quite a bit of education or a native love of books and for whom reading is important as an activity and not just something to do to pass the time or entertain themselves.
See, when people would ask me that question before it was because I was very young and I was in the youngest generation, and I think there’s probably a whole new generation now.
As far as I can think it’s really only Richard Powers in Galatea 2.2 and he’s got a new book out called Plowing the Dark, which is partially about virtual reality.
You know, some of that is the constraint of the page, and I think to an extent the footnotes are to suggest at least a kind of doubling that I think is a little more realistic.
DFW: The very first story in there, which is about a game show that I don’t know if people in Spain will have heard of called Jeopardy, is a very very good story, and there’s a story about Lyndon Johnson that I think works very well.
The very last piece in there which is partly about John Barth, I really liked when I did it and then for a few years I didn’t like it at all and was tired of talking about it and I re-read it about a year ago and actually now think it’s very good again.
Now, that’s talking about my own work; as a reader I think I get the same sort of sense.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Do Scholastic Book Fairs Live Up to the Nostalgia?”

For some, Scholastic book fairs provided a distinct brand of uncontaminated joy that exists only in childhood.
I’ve spent my whole adult life chasing the high of a scholastic book fair.
It is with this high in mind that I walked into a Scholastic book fair at Woodfield Elementary, a school of about 300 students in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. When my tour guides, a pair of regional Scholastic sales representatives, arrived, they led me from the main office, down hallways covered in posters and drawings, to the library.
A person dressed from head to toe as Clifford the Big Red Dog, the star of a well-known Scholastic-made book series, waved his fluffy red paws enthusiastically.
Unlike the fairs I attended in elementary school, the sight was underwhelming.
Memories are notoriously malleable, and my recollection of Scholastic book fairs had become warped over the years.
I didn’t have much time to process my reaction anyway, because the students, a group of fourth graders, wanted to give me a tour of the fair and talk about their favorite books.
There were Picture Books, for the younger readers; Chapter Books, for older readers ready for some narrative; Friendship Tales, stories of kids and their furry companions; Fearless, stories of adventure and survival; Fun Facts, for a hint of science; and Girl Power!, a section I didn’t remember from my own experience.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s state-run press agency has created an ‘AI anchor’ to read the news”

Xinhua, China’s state-run press agency, has unveiled new “AI anchors” – digital composites created from footage of human hosts that read the news using synthesized voices.
By combining this with a synthesized voice, Xinhua can program the digital anchors to read the news, far quicker than using traditional CGI. According to reports from Xinhua and the South China Morning Post, two anchors were created in collaboration with local search engine company Sogou.
Xinhua says the anchors have “Endless prospects” and can be used to cheaply generate news reports for the agency’s TV, web, and mobile output.
Each anchor can “Work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency,” says Xinhua.
Machine learning research in this area is making swift improvements, and it’s not hard to imagine a future where AI anchors are indistinguishable from the real thing.
Creating fake anchors to read propaganda sounds chilling.
If Xinhua wants someone to read the news without questioning it they don’t need AI to make that happen.
While these examples fall clearly into the world of entertainment, having AI anchors read the news suggests the technology could become more than a novelty.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Go See a Movie by Yourself”

Too young to go to a movie alone and too old to go with my parents, I asked my friend Amanda to go see it with me.
I decided right then that the best way to see a movie was alone.
Now I’m 29 and I will only see movies with other people if there are extenuating circumstances.
Watching a movie is best as a solitary experience, which is something that we just need to admit to ourselves.
Going to dinner and a movie is still heeded as an ideal date.
Whenever I watch a movie with someone else, I find myself watching it through their eyes and brains and emotions in addition to my own.
I want my first impression of a movie to be filtered through my brain and my brain only.
Are you wondering if there is a single correct way to go to the movies? Of course there is.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 40 best books to read before you die, from Anna Karenina to Wolf Hall”

Whatever the breathless claims about reading, one thing is certain: losing yourself in a great novel is one of life’s most enduring and dependable joys.
As it stands, whittling this list down to 40 novels has been a process that makes Brexit negotiations look simple and amicable.
Will there ever be a novel that burns with more passionate intensity than Wuthering Heights? The forces that bring together its fierce heroine Catherine Earnshaw and cruel hero Heathcliff are violent and untameable, yet rooted in a childhood devotion to one another, when Heathcliff obeyed Cathy’s every command.
The savage reviews that greeted F Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel – “No more than a glorified anecdote”; “For the season only” – failed to recognise something truly great; a near-perfect distillation of the hope, ambition, cynicism and desire at the heart of the American Dream.
Banned from entering the UK in its year of publication, 1955, Vladimir Nabokov’s astonishingly skilful and enduringly controversial work of fiction introduces us to literary professor and self-confessed hebephile Humbert Humbert, the perhaps unreliable narrator of the novel.
The novel – although debate continues to rage about whether its attitude to Africa and colonialism is racist – is deeply involving and demands to be read. CH. Dracula, Bram Stoker.
The only novel written by the poet Sylvia Plath is a semi-autobiographical account of a descent into depression that the book’s narrator Esther Greenwood describes as like being trapped under a bell jar – used to create a vacuum in scientific experiments – struggling to breathe.
Rew Davies’s recent TV adaptation of War and Peace reminded those of us who can’t quite face returning to the novel’s monstrous demands just how brilliantly Tolstoy delineates affairs of the heart, even if the war passages will always be a struggle.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Everything I Knew About Reading Was Wrong”

Defining the Problem”Everyone I know is stuck on some book. I’m sure you’re stuck on some book right now. It’s page 332, you can’t go on any further but you know you should finish the book, so what do you do? You give up reading books for a while. That for me was a tragedy, because I grew up on books, and then I switched to blogs and then I switched to Twitter and Facebook, and then I realized I wasn’t really learning anything, I was just taking little dopamine snacks all day long.”- Naval RavikantAre you stuck on some book right now?
Sometimes the book isn’t bad - you just never feel like reading it.
Having variety means I don’t have to wait for the mood that fits the book I’m reading.
You’ll be reading each book over a longer period of time, which allows your brain to create stronger neural connections and wire the ideas into your long-term memory.
Say you’re reading a book about modern history.
Mindshift #3: You Don’t Have to Read in Sequential OrderIf the book is getting a little boring, I’ll skip ahead. Sometimes I’ll start reading a book in the middle because some paragraph caught my eye and I’ll just continue from there, and I feel no obligation whatsoever to finish the book.
Books as a Blog ArchiveNaval’s approach of non-sequential reading is even more liberal than what I’ve presented so far.
Remember: reading is a journey to find the great books for you.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Stephen King’s 20 Rules for Writers”

We’ve talked so much about the reader, but you can’t forget that the opening line is important to the writer, too.
Now King admits that he doesn’t think much about the opening line as he writes, in a first draft, at least.
Revision in the second draft, “One of them, anyway,” may “Necessitate some big changes” says King in his 2000 memoir slash writing guide On Writing.
It is an essential process, and one that “Hardly ever fails.” Below, we bring you King’s top twenty rules from On Writing.
“Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”
Read, read, read. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time to write.”
“One cannot imitate a writer’s approach to a particular genre, no matter how simple what that writer is doing may seem.”
“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Bookish Life by Joseph Epstein”

By the bookish life, I mean a life in which the reading of books has a central, even a dominating, place.
The first question is “How can one tell which books qualify as good, beautiful, important?” In an essay of 1978 called “On Reading Books: A Barbarian’s Cogitations,” Alexander ­Gerschenkron, a Harvard economist of wide learning, set out three criteria: A good book must be interesting, memorable, and rereadable.
Some of the best of all books are those one loved when young and finds even better in later life.
Reading may not be the same as conversation, but reading the right books, the best books, puts us in the company of men and women more intelligent than ourselves.
A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.
I’ve twice before made a run at Burton’s book, but it now begins to look as if I may have to finish finishing it in the next life.
In The Guermantes Way volume of his great novel, Proust has his narrator note a time when he knew “More books than people and literature better than life.” The best arrangement, like that between the head and the heart, is one of balance between life and reading.
You can get along without reading serious books-many extraordinary, large-hearted, highly intelligent people have-but why, given the chance, would you want to? Books make life so much richer, grander, more splendid.

The orginal article.