Athena, Goddess of Copyediting

From The Paris Review: My first exposure to Greek mythology was at the Lyceum—not the famed Lykeion in Athens, where Aristotle and his pupils strolled around as they discussed philosophy and beauty, but a movie theater on Fulton Road in Cleveland, where my brothers and I spent Saturday afternoons. The Lyceum was classic as opposed … Read more

The Rise of Robot Authors: Is the Writing on the Wall for Human Novelists?

From The Guardian: Will androids write novels about electric sheep? The dream, or nightmare, of totally machine-generated prose seemed to have come one step closer with the recent announcement of an artificial intelligence that could produce, all by itself, plausible news stories or fiction. It was the brainchild of OpenAI – a nonprofit lab backed … Read more

Our Software Is Biased like We Are. Can New Laws Change That?

From The Wall Street Journal: Lawyers for Eric Loomis stood before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in April 2016, and argued that their client had experienced a uniquely 21st-century abridgment of his rights: Mr. Loomis had been discriminated against by a computer algorithm. Three years prior, Mr. Loomis was found guilty of attempting to flee police and operating a … Read more

Against Catharsis: Writing Is Not Therapy

From The Literary Hub: I heard the boy scream before I saw him. Walking 125th Street, alone, I heard him cry out. Mom, he screamed. Mommy, please. The street was dark; the winter drafts wicked. I spun around to find the boy, no older than six, standing outside a Volvo station wagon, fists banging against the backseat window. Mommy, … Read more

The Psychiatrist Who Believed People Could Tell the Future

From The New Yorker, perhaps a writing prompt: For many years, Kathleen Lorna Middleton lived at 69 Carlton Terrace, in the North London suburb of Edmonton. The house, which faced one of the main roads leading out of the city, had a small plaque to the left of the front door: “Miss Lorna Middleton, Teacher … Read more

The Quest for Queen Mary

From The Wall Street Journal: After the death of a king or queen, a royal biography is duly commissioned. It appears, appropriately reverent, its subject cleansed of blemishes and imperfection. Such was the case in 1959, six years after Queen Mary, the wife of King George V and grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II, had died … Read more

Rescue from Slavery

From Fishwrap: During the mid-19th century, the abolitionist movement gained strength in the Northern United States. Free states prohibited slavery, but many of those living in slave states were forced to suffer backbreaking work and constant forms of degradation. In 1847, one heroic mother, a freed slave, received a letter from the master of her two daughters. She … Read more

The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist

Nothing to do with books, but PG thinks he’s not the only one who enjoys stories and movies about art thieves. From The New Yorker: Long before the burglar Vjeran Tomic became the talk of Paris, he honed his skills in a graveyard. Père Lachaise, the city’s largest cemetery, is a Gothic maze of tombstones, … Read more