“[C]hildren often prefer the factual over the fantastical. And a growing body of work suggests that when it comes to storybooks, they also learn better from stories that are realistic. For example, preschool-aged children are more likely to learn new facts about animals when the animals are portrayed realistically as opposed to anthropomorphically.” Two new studies suggest that where learning is concerned, realism trumps fantasy in children’s books. Which is as good a time as any to ask our own Jacob Lambert‘s question: Are picture books leading our children astray?
“The average American three-year-old can recognize 100 brands,” says prominent advertising and marketing guru Martin Lindstrom. Are we being Brandwashed? For The New York Times, Steven Heller tracks the history of corporate symbols and branding.
A new laureateship award worth €150,000 was created by Ireland’s Arts Council in conjunction with University College Dublin and New York University. The award will be given to “an outstanding Irish writer of fiction” with hopes that the author will “promote [Irish] literature around the world” and “inspire the public to engage with the best Irish fiction.” The first appointment will be made in 2014.
Back in 1988, Tad Williams published the first book of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, which inspired George R.R. Martin to start writing A Song of Ice and Fire. Now, more than twenty years after publishing the last installment (and just as the new season of Game of Thrones begins), Williams announced that he’s writing a sequel, The Last King of Osten Ard. You could also read our own Janet Potter’s review of the first Game of Thrones book.
In 1998, not long after publishing his first novel, Dan Brown paid a visit to an English class at Phillips Exeter. Among the students in attendance that day was future New Yorker editor Joshua Rothman, whose fragmented recollection of Brown’s appearance turned into an instructive tale about “memory and its tricks.”
With past contributions by Joyce Carol Oates, Yusef Komunyakaa and Dana Goodyear, The Rattling Wall (which gets funding from PEN Center USA) appears to have no problem attracting prominent writers. For a limited time, get a three-year subscription at a discount of close to fifty percent.
No need to bake sugar cookies this holiday season. Try Nietzsche’s angel food cake recipe instead. “Allow the angel to reach room temperature. Then kill it,” Rebecca Coffey writes the recipe for McSweeney’s. You can find more literary cooking tips in Coffey’s Nietzsche’s Angel Food Cake: And Other Recipes for the Intellectually Famished.
Soon HBO will have another show based on an acclaimed book in its lineup. Olive Kitteridge, a show based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, will premiere on November 2nd. You can see the trailer (along with a brief analysis) over at Slate. FYI, Strout wrote a Year in Reading entry for us.