Summary of “The Six Main Stories, As Identified by a Computer”

This may not seem like anything special, Vonnegut says-his actual words are, “It certainly looks like trash”-until he notices another well known story that shares this shape.
Vonnegut had mapped stories by hand, but in 2016, with sophisticated computing power, natural language processing, and reams of digitized text, it’s possible to map the narrative patterns in a huge corpus of literature.
It’s also possible to ask a computer to identify the shapes of stories for you.
That’s what a group of researchers, from the University of Vermont and the University of Adelaide, set out to do.
Using a collection of fiction from the digital library Project Gutenberg, they selected 1,737 English-language works of fiction between 10,000 and 200,000 words long.
They did this by training the machine to take all the words of the book, section by section, and measure the average happiness of a given bag of words based on how an individual word scored.
The researchers assigned individual happiness scores to more than 10,000 frequently-used words by crowdsourcing the effort on the website Mechanical Turk.
This portion of the research is fascinating in and of itself: The 10 words that people ranked as happiest were laughter, happiness, love, happy, laughed, laugh, laughing, excellent, laughs, and joy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Kobe Bryant attempts to revise his story with Hollywood’s help”

So no one hassles Kobe Bryant when he walks into the airport a few minutes late, considering he was just in the parking lot, napping in his car.
In the literal and metaphorical sense, Bryant is pointed toward Hollywood – an arena of vast possibilities but one that, over the past year, has begun fighting back against a culture of sexual harassment and assault, illuminating the wrongs of the past.
Here’s a story he has told many times: Bryant was 19, two years after he skipped college to play in the NBA straight out of high school, and one day he received an unexpected call from Michael Jackson.
There’s a trophy in the shape of a coiled black mamba, and a massive black-and-white print of a snake is on a wall behind Bryant and Lil Wayne, who actually genuflects when calling Bryant an Oscar winner.
How about when Bryant refused to work out for Charlotte after the Hornets drafted him in 1996 and even threatened to play in Italy if they couldn’t trade him to Los Angeles? That’s because, he told himself and others, Charlotte gave up on him immediately after the draft; in 2014, Bryant tweeted thanks to the Hornets, a franchise he’d convinced himself “Had no use for me.” Or the legend of how a 10-year-old Bryant, living overseas as his father played professional basketball, beat former NBA first-round pick Brian Shaw in a game of HORSE? “As the years went on, the legend grew and the story changed,” Shaw is quoted as saying in the Bryant biography “Showboat.”
The best protagonists travel a solitary journey, so Bryant declined teammates’ dinner invitations in favor of film study and solo workouts, once screamed profanity at Ron Harper when Harper suggested Bryant trust the offensive system instead of forcing shots, met Jordan and immediately declared he could beat His Airness in a game of one-on-one.
“The presence of a system and talented teammates [Shaq] hampered his story line,” writes Jackson, who returned to the Lakers in part because he and Bryant made a pact to support each other and air criticisms only in private; the partnership would yield two more championships.
Among the influences pictured on the wall of Kobe Inc., Steve Jobs might be the one with whom Bryant has the most in common.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Will Stanich’s Ever Reopen? Why America’s Best Burger Spot Closed Down”

Under the restaurant name, it says “Great hamburgers since 1949.” The mug was given to me by Steve Stanich on the day I told him that, after eating 330 burgers during a 30-city search, I was naming Stanich’s cheeseburger the best burger in America.
Can the NYC Steakhouse Survive? Five months later, in a story in The Oregonian, restaurant critic Michael Russell detailed how Stanich’s had been forced to shut down.
In the article, Steve Stanich called my burger award a curse, “The worst thing that’s ever happened to us.” He told a story about the country music singer Tim McGraw showing up one day, and not being able to serve him because there was a five hour wait for a burger.
On January 2, 2018, Stanich shut down the restaurant for what he called a “Two week deep cleaning.” Ten months later, Stanich’s is still closed.
Stanich’s burger could compete with any burger place in the country, but I’d be lying if I said the narrative didn’t push it over the top.
They might pay him lip service to his face, but they were never coming back so they had no problem going on Yelp or Facebook and denouncing the restaurant and saying that the burgers were bad. And then the health department came in and suggested they do some deep cleaning, and the combination of all of these factors led Stanich to close down the restaurant for what he genuinely thought would be two weeks.
Stanich showed me all the new things he’d put in while they’d been closed, and how they’d fixed up the bathrooms, and told me about how he’s kept on the coolers and the ice machines and everything this entire time, because if you shut that stuff down for long periods it will break.
As we stood and stared down at the black gravestone, Stanich told me a story about how his parents had started the restaurant in 1949 to help pay hospital bills after he was born prematurely.

The orginal article.

Summary of “George RR Martin: ‘When I began A Game of Thrones I thought it might be a short story'”

Strict instructions are issued before interviewing George RR Martin: do not ask about The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, the one fans keep haranguing him about and Martin has been writing since 2011.
Written in the voice of a maester of the citadel, Archmaester Gyldayn, a “Crotchety old guy with strong opinions” who is telling his story hundreds of years after the events he’s chronicling, the structure allows Martin to play about with the unreliability of his narrators, as Gyldayn sorts through his primary sources.
Martin has always loved popular history; Game of Thrones was loosely inspired by accounts of the wars of the Roses.
“If I were 30 years younger I could easily write a series about the Dance of the Dragons” – the Targaryen civil war – “Or I could write the story of Aegon’s conquest. Every one of the 13 children of Jaehaerys and Alysanne has a story that could be told about him or her, their rise, their fall, their triumphs, their deaths It was a lot of fun to create, a lot of fun to live in that world again.”
Martin studied journalism at university – he went to Northwestern in Illinois – continuing to write and sell short stories through his time as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war, a chess tournament director and a teacher.
“When I began, I didn’t know what the hell I had. I thought it might be a short story; it was just this chapter, where they find these direwolf pups. Then I started exploring these families and the world started coming alive,” Martin says.
“He wrote a huge dark space opera and a vampire riverboat story and a murder mystery rock’n’roll fantasy novel. Each book and each story was different and each was deep. I was delighted that the public discovered his genius with Game of Thrones, but I wish they’d read the other books too,” says Gaiman, who describes himself as “Famous in the world of George RR Martin for a blog post”, in which – way back in 2009 – he took Martin’s fans to task over their demands for the next Song of Ice and Fire novel, telling them: “George RR Martin is not your bitch.”
As well as writing the books, he is working with the writers of the five different prequels to Game of Thrones that HBO is developing, , including Jane Goldman, whose The Long Night takes place 5,000 years in the past.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Podcasts Became a Seductive-and Sometimes Slippery-Mode of Storytelling”

To use the language of Walter Benjamin, these podcasts offer the sometimes lurid satisfactions of story bolstered by the apparent rectitude of information.
It is sometimes argued that, because podcasts require a considerable time commitment, people don’t “Hate-listen” to them the way they skim magazine articles that offend them or follow people on Twitter whose points of view they loathe.
The podcast’s originality lay precisely in cultivating that sense of discomfort: a listener longed to know not only what had happened to Simmons but also how Taberski would resolve the ethical dilemma of having subjected a faded celebrity to such scrutiny.
Several of the most well-received podcasts have been produced by public radio, including “In the Dark,” an investigative series made by American Public Media and hosted by Madeleine Baran.
A representative for Blue Apron, which has launched its own branded podcast, “Why We Eat What We Eat,” in addition to advertising on hundreds of shows, told me, “We view podcasts less as an advertising channel and more as a content channel to win new customers and engage existing customers.”
New ways of monetizing podcasts are being explored, including a paid-subscription model; apps such as Stitcher Premium offer ad-free listening and bonus episodes.
“Traditional journalism is all about delivering a final product to an audience and saying, ‘Trust us, here’s our omniscient authority that we have earned.’ Podcasting is, by definition, a more vulnerable, transparent medium. You can hear the reporter’s uncertainty.” Listeners often tell Barbaro how much they appreciate being invited behind the scenes-hearing him and his colleagues stumble toward an understanding of the news.
To revisit the show now is illuminating, as it reveals how persuasively the medium of podcasting can tell a story-the ascent of Hillary Clinton to the Presidency-in such a way that it seems not just plausible but inevitable.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Writers Map Their Imaginary Worlds”

A writer’s map hints at a fully imagined world, and at the beginning of a book, it’s a promise.
A new book, The Writer’s Map, contains dozens of the magical maps writers have drawn or that have been made by others to illustrate the places they’ve created.
“For some writers making a map is absolutely central to the craft of shaping and telling their tale.”
The book includes the map from Thomas More’s Utopia, which when published in 1516 contained the first fantasy map in a work of fiction, as far as anyone can tell.
There are more private treasures here, too: J.R.R. Tolkien’s own sketch of Mordor, on graph paper; C.S. Lewis’s sketches; unpublished maps from the notebooks of David Mitchell, who uses them to help imagine the worlds of his books, such as The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet; Jack Kerouac’s own route in On the Road. Among these maps, the one for Treasure Island is a landmark, “One of the most iconic literary maps of all,” Lewis-Jones writes.
In one essay, Cressida Cowell, the author of How to Train Your Dragon, writes of being inspired by maps drawn by the Bront√ęs as children, “In tiny, beautiful books that were in themselves a fascination, for the writing was as small as if created by mice.”
Philip Pullman: “Writing is a matter of sullen toil. Drawing is pure joy. Drawing a map to go with a story is messing around, with the added fun of coloring in.”
A map helps shape a reader’s or a writer’s idea of a fictional place, but ultimately its boundaries are limited only by their joint imaginations.

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 “Unfold launches a design agency for Instagram Stories”

Founded in March 2017 by Alfonso Cobo-an architect by training-Unfold began as an app for designers to create portfolios via iPad, before Cobo realized that Instagram Stories were catching on.
The duo set out get the app in front of influencers who might be interested in using it, and their plan worked: Unfold has evolved into one of the biggest players in Instagram Story design, with 11 million users, growing at a rate of 100,000 app downloads per day.
Instagram itself is on board-the company points to Unfold as a great way for companies to tell better Stories.
Today, Unfold is launching the next stage of its business: a design agency for Instagram Stories.
Under the moniker Unfold for Brands, Cobo created the company’s first custom-branded Story series for the luxury fitness company Equinox, with 13 templates that Equinox’s social media team and its trainers can access using a special code in the Unfold app.
According to Equinox’s chief marketing officer Vimla Black Gupta, the company has seen exponential growth when it comes to Instagram Stories, and saw Unfold as a way to provide more resources to its social media team and its trainers, who often advertise their classes on Instagram.
Using templates for Instagram Stories is rising in popularity: Another desktop design tool called Easil launched templates for Stories in 2017, and today about 35% of its 1 million users have used the tool to create an Instagram Story.
Cobo hopes to differentiate Unfold from the competition by being mobile-friendly, never using watermarks, and focusing on Stories alone.

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 “22 Best Haruki Murakami Books, Ranked”

On the occasion of today’s American release of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Killing Commendatore, below is a loosely ranked list of every Murakami book published in the U.S. – the classic, the recommended, books for diehard fans, and those we’d throw down one of his deep, dark wells.
Norwegian WoodThis is the book that transformed Murakami from Japanese success to international phenomenon.
In soft, spare prose, Murakami juxtaposes Naoko’s life inside a rural mental-health clinic with Toru’s languid days, loving her from afar while falling for another woman.
It’s a defining love story of the twentieth century, proof that Murakami is at least as effective without his surrealist shtick, if not more so.
One of his own characters, in “The Widow,” nails what makes Murakami tick: “Don’t try so hard to be the penetrating observer. Writing is, after all, a makeshift thing.”
South of the Border, West of the SunWhen Murakami drops the quirk and sticks to classic forms, he can plumb deeper into the pervasive oddity of society than he does depicting vast underground societies or talking cats.
One piece stars a narrator named Haruki Murakami, another a man who eats only spaghetti for a year, and still another a night watchman whose reflection becomes a different person.
What follows hovers between the Murakami of the real and the Murakami of the imagined, and it never quite finds its own voice.

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