by Amanda Smera
Not once in my life have I had to wonder what it is like to not know how to read or write. And I am guessing that, if you are reading this right now, neither have you.
But what if I told you that in some countries, reading and writing are not as reachable as they seem to be? That for some people, reading and writing is seen as a privilege and not as a common practice?
by Ariana Tucker
Go onto any major book-selling website and you’ll probably find a section dedicated to Black authors in the list of genres and subcategories. Amazon calls theirs “Amplify Black Voices” and lists it among other popular keywords like “Award Winners” and “Celebrity Picks.” Barnes and Noble calls theirs “Black Voices” and lists it among other browsing options such as “Large Print Books” and “Trend Shop.” Click on either link and you’ll see popular books written by Black authors, most of which are the same books we’ve been talking about for the last five years.
Barnes and Noble is the worst offender of this. On their featured page of “Fiction: Black Voices,” only four were published between 2020 and 2021 (Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle is their featured book from 2021). The rest are classics by Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison and books by authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Sister Souljah, which were published in the 2000s and 2010s. Amazon at least offers a more up-to-date list of recently released books by month and recommendations from editors and Black icons like Billy Porter and Rick Ross. You can find almost any genre and any subject here, the only difference is that the authors are all BIPOC.
by Marissa Stanko
Trying to find your identity as a writer is nerve-wracking. There’s pressure on all sides to do certain things or be a certain way or write at certain times and so on and so on. It took me a long time to feel like I was a writer, and even now I struggle with feeling like I don’t write “the right way.” One of the things I always felt forced to justify as a writer, even to myself, is that I like to listen to music while I write, and it isn’t instrumental. Studies, blog posts, and articles galore tell me that I shouldn’t listen to music while I write, or that if I do, it should be classical, instrumental, or a playlist designed to fit the piece I’m working on. Lyrics distract from writing, they say. Music puts your focus somewhere else. And I know for many people, that must be true.
by Georgia I. Salvaryn
It has long been debated whether audiobooks are better than traditional books and e-books, but it is an argument that has no end. While some people believe audiobooks are eventually going to take over the reading world, others believe traditional books and e-books will have a long-lasting existence and influence on the book-loving community. Eventually, one’s use of audiobooks or print media comes down to two factors: ease and enjoyment.
In Dina Folgia’s opinion editorial Why the Future of Writing is in Audio, she discusses the revolutionary addition of audiobooks and storytelling podcasts to the literary world and the growing popularity of this form of “reading.” She argues that readers will eventually turn to audio for better entertainment and for convenience (i.e., a reader can listen to their favorite actor read their memoir while driving to work.) Her conclusion:
It’s no secret that print media is on the out. It will never go away, not completely, but the shift to the digital sphere has removed the emphasis from physically published content. Audio has already begun to breathe new life into old genres like horror, and is extending far beyond the conversational sphere and into the world of narrative. Writers would be foolish to overlook this massive new platform for creativity.
While I agree that this electronic medium is on the rise, I do not believe that it will kick print media to the curb.
by Christina Cullen
Last week my father asked me “What do the letters A.D. stand for?” as I racked my brain for the Latin Anno Domini and realized how little I had paid attention during my Catholic school days. He continued, “You know, when you search for something on Google, you sometimes see the letters A.D. What does that mean?”
My father recently retired from a corporate job and started his own signage business. He is a master networker and can make personal connections in minutes, but for him the online realm is a new landscape. Despite being the first in our family to own a computer, smartphone, and tablet as well as the fact that Google Adwords, the world’s first “self-service advertising program” was launched in 2000, two decades passed before he realized these two tiny black letters at the top of a Google search are the abbreviation of advertisement.