R/W: A Collection of Links On Language, Literacy, and Writing

Banner: Stranger In A Strange Land, Heinlein


Cover: Stranger In A Strange Land, HeinleinFor the language geeks, BuzzFeed contributor John Herman tells us Why We Sound Weird When We Talk About Tech. It involves, as you’d imagine, the verbing of nouns and adjectives, and our relative familiarity with these new verbs. Elegance? That’s mostly a matter of perspective, not an objective style fact.

— Megan

Dictionary.com features a Word of the Day and for Thursday, it happened to be “grok,” a word I’ve only just recently come to understand. Which is actually the definition of the word. To understand. Though to those who are familiar with its source, Robert A. Heinein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, it means more than simply, “to understand.” It means to understand so deeply, that the knowledge becomes a part of you. To truly grok something is to have it become second nature, like breathing.

— Wendy


You’ve read Daniel José Older‘s essay on diversity in books, right? Now it’s time to read a new essay, 12 Fundamentals Of Writing “The Other” (And The Self). This is quick masterclass is breaking down and rebuilding the way you approach character, power, and understand your self and viewpoint. If you’ve ever been afraid of writing outside of your comfort zone, or worried about the problematic elements in your work, you will find this piece helpful.

Alberto Mucci looks at the rising profile of Arab science fiction, arguing that women are at the forefront of imagining “subversive futures.” But he takes care to make clear that Arab SF isn’t a recent development, but rather has been appearing for as long as it has in the Western world.

Cover: Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen OyeyemiAlso in the LA Review of Books, Maurice Chammah dips into the choppy critical waters around Orange Is the New Black: the critical debate “demands we ask whether we actually learn anything about criminal justice from staring at these women for 13 hours.” Is OItNB about the US un-justice system (yes), or is it about the characters (also yes), and can it be made to carry the weight for exposing the decidedly not post-racial prison culture in America (not really, no)?

Back in May — but still well worth a listen — Eleanor Wachtel spoke with author Helen Oyeyemi about her then new novel Boy, Snow, Bird, and her interest in fairy tales and tales of doubles, literary and otherwise. The interview runs just over fifty minutes long.

— Megan


Megan Purdy

Megan Purdy

Publisher of all this. Megan was born in Toronto. She's still there. Philosopher, space vampire, heart of a killer.