Welcome back to THE BOOK REPORT, a semi-regular column where I round up literary headlines so you don’t have to! As always, the world is abuzz with news. Most of it is pretty bad, but then some of it is “BOOKWORMS ARE HOTTER THAN REGULAR PEOPLE, ACCORDING TO SCIENCE,” which is great, so let’s get cracking.
1/2/18: There’s a teaser trailer for season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events!
You’ll remember I was (and still am, upon rewatching) a BIG, BIG fan of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events adaptation. It has cured me of my ills after the Jim Carrey version floundered into nonexistence. After all these years, I am finally beginning to heal. And Netflix just dropped the teaser trailer for season 2! It will premiere on March 30th, which is just enough time for me to recover from the latest season of Black Mirror. Have a watch!
So the dating site eHarmony regularly analyzes its data to see what qualities appear to make people more “attractive,” which here means said people receive more online attention from members of the opposite sex.
As it turns out, both male and female readers tend to get more messages. What’s even more interesting is that the books themselves factor heavily into this equation. For instance, men who say they like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tend to receive 36% more messages. Women who say they enjoy The Hunger Games get 44%.
The gender disparity is significant, and fascinating, because while women who like Harry Potter see a 16% rise in online communication, men who like Harry Potter see a 55% decrease.
TAKE THIS INFORMATION WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. If someone thinks your interests and hobbies are a dealbreaker, then they are not the one for you. Besides, no matter what you read, at least you’re READING, which science says makes you hotter than the average person. Nice.
1/4/18: This year’s MLA convention is big on the concept of “fake news”
If you’ve ever been a student, I’m sure you’re familiar with the MLA style guide. What you may not know is that there’s a CONVENTION. AN ACTUAL, LITERAL CONVENTION. Every year, its members get together and discuss, I don’t know, where the parentheses go? How many commas to use? Think of it as Comic-Con for people who really like to cite their sources and chat about literature.
Anyway, this year there’s a big focus on things like “fake news,” “alternative facts,” and what constitutes truth—both presently and in the literary past.
Example: in the stories about King Arthur, there was a magical drinking horn that forced those who drank from it to tell the truth, which often revealed that practically everyone at court was having sex with someone they shouldn’t be. Scholar Lucas Wood, who’s presenting this specific paper, says, “These were explicitly fictional narratives, which are no doubt communicating on social truths at the time. People felt the need to denounce the narratives as untrue, even if they were partially true.” Should be a fun, light-hearted session with no references to the current political climate whatsoever.
My question is this: does MLA-Con have a costume contest? Please let there be a costume contest. I really need this.