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The Convenience of Audiobooks

What qualities of audiobooks do you feel are inferior or superior to reading hard copies? Do you think being able to use your hands or exercising while listening to a book is useful, or do you prefer the feel of holding a physical copy and focusing your vision on the words rather than on your surroundings?

  • I think the medium is very important here. Though audiobooks force you to follow at their pace, the added benefit of voice-acting creates a new way to experience the story. Audiobooks can be enjoyed in groups, while books are a solo experience. It's all about preference, and how you choose to enjoy the novel. – joshuahall 3 years ago
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  • I think most people would prefer the actual hard copy of a book. Sometimes, however, this isn't a luxury. If I'm driving, for example, audiobooks are great. – Alexis 3 years ago
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  • I enjoy reading a book first and the, if I really enjoyed it, listening to the audio version to hear another person's interpretation. I agree with Alexis as well, when driving or in the gym, audiobooks are great! – Catherine Conte 3 years ago
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  • I think it is impossible to divorce this topic from those who have disabilities. – rhettrichx 3 years ago
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  • I tend to remain partial to the antiquated form of reading. But, this article could tip the scale for either of both camps. Audio books certainly offer physically active people the liberty to incorporate reading into their daily activity. However, paper books offer pictures that amplify the reading experience, probably in the same way that voice actors can. It will be interesting to see how this dual themed composition evolves. – L:Freire 5 days ago
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  • Listening to narrations can be extemely useful when you're otherwise busy, or it can supplement your own simultaneous reading. I found this to be true especially when reading longer texts (like Uncle Tom's Cabin), as the combined audio and visual elements seem to enhance memorization. – LaPlant0 2 days ago
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What Exactly is Happily Ever After, and Why Does it Matter?

So the other day, I’m surfing the Internet looking at Harry Potter writings (I’m a recent Potterhead and enjoying the addiction). I came across someone complaining about The Cursed Child and the Deathly Hallows epilogue, saying that they were too "heteronormative." In other words, this person wanted to know why it was always necessary for our favorite characters to get married (to a heterosexual, but I guess really to a person of any gender) and have kids to be happy.

Now, I’m a sucker for what TV Tropes calls Babies Ever After, but that post made me wonder. Why is marriage/babies held up as the ultimate happy ending? Is it the only one? What works can you name where this didn’t happen, but the characters were still happy and fulfilled? How has the concept of "happily ever after" evolved? Discuss.

  • I would say read Madame Bovary as it works as an antithesis to the traditional happily ever after. The character of Emma Bovary originally wanted nothing more than to get married, but soon starts desiring other things in life and becomes frustrated with the mundanity of married life. I don't want to give away too much here as it may spoil the story, but the idea of marriage and being a parent as the ultimate form of happiness is challenged in that story. You may also consider different gender perspectives in the happily ever after or "Babie ever after" trope as a lot of feminist literature likes to point out how what makes a female happy in marriage may vary for males. And for the LGBTQ community, it may because marriage and adoption is something that is legally denied to them in many countries. This theory has a lot of layers to it that need qualifications. I personally like stories that end with this trope as well, but I'm also aware of how it was used to keep females in a secondary position and treated them as a prize to be won. Though it is not to say that males did not desire as well. A good example of a male protagonist that wants desires this trope is Sanosuke Harada from the Hakuori Shinsengumi visual novels. – Blackcat130 4 months ago
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  • A couple of things to consider: The happy ever after (babies ever after) is a pacifier that stems from an industry pushing an 'aspirational' social value. Keep the status quo rolling along by showing us what we should want. Secondly, the romance novel industry dictates a happy ever after ending as it is expected. Queer romance sells best when it is HEA, but there is also a place for happy for now. – sheena 4 months ago
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  • I definitely don't think marriage/babies is the only type of happy ending. I love movies like Waitress, where the protagonist is able to get out of the abuse she may be in and leave any other baggage in order to do something for herself or coming of age movies where you see the protagonist really become an adult in a positive way. I hope that makes sense! – CatBeeny 5 days ago
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Taken by jillianlaw (PM) 5 days ago.
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Why is the byronic hero trope so persistent?

Analyse why the byronic hero trope continues to be popular and "sexy" male characters are still often depicted as arrogant, proud, brooding, unemotional on the surface and somewhat antagonistic to the female protagonist in the beginning to create sexual chemistry. Why haven’t we moved past the Mr.Darcy fantasy- now the Mr.Grey/Edward Cullen fantasy? Why do male characters, especially those in YA such as Jace Herondale in the City of Bones series for example, continue to be by far one dimensional leather-jacket-wearing, smouldering "bad boys". There are SO MANY examples that could be discussed and explored here!!

  • I think that, largely, it has to do with toxic masculinity. We’ve been programmed to view men who don’t express outward emotion (except in very intimate settings) as “strong”, when in reality that isn’t the case at all. In the case of Edward Cullen/Christian Grey specifically, I think these characters romanticize relationships where there is an unhealthy balance of power. In any other context but a book, controlling who you see or don’t see would be considered abusive. Twilight and 50 Shades, however, paint these behaviors as “he just cares about you”. It also really doesn’t help that Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele seem completely oblivious to how problematic these behaviors are. – RebaZatz 2 months ago
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  • Nice topic. Don't forget Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester. Other examples might include the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, or even Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series is said to qualify too, although he's not considered completely Byronic. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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  • And don't forget Deadpool! Also worth considering is Dallas from "The Outsiders." Dally was the ultimate byronic hero. Throughout the novel, Dally is represented as the uncaring bad boy, but at the end it is revealed that he was the character that truly cared the most. – EmskitheNerd 2 months ago
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  • They appear in shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. See the link: https://the-artifice.com/byronic-hero – L:Freire 6 days ago
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Taken by Kylie27 (PM) 3 days ago.
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The Killer Angels (1974): The Unusual Influence of a Novel

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. While it won the prize in the Fiction category, the novel is based on the actual events at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) during the American Civil War. Shaara based his novel on what are known as After-Action Reports which various officers wrote after a battle. Ken Burns says the book influenced him, leading to his PBS series on the Civil War. Joss Wheldon also says the book influenced him, leading to his TV series, Firefly. How a novel can influence others in ways that extend well beyond literature is a topic to explore.

  • Definitely should explore intertextuality and Barthe's theories surrounding death of the author – Pamela Maria 3 weeks ago
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The beginnings of religious belief and science

Is there fine line where spiritual beliefs and the observable natural world can meet? Both are part of humanity and helps shape the world. There is an effect and many do not agree to have both combined or integrated. Religion may be in peoples blood and culture, based on the life that is build upon. It helps find meaning that people are not just organisms that evolve from an insect or a grain of sand. The science part of it brings the engineers of the physical world. Science helps people to learn about the world. Discovering that which can be observed and also build peoples lives by learning about every degree and inch of the universe. A higher power may have fine tuned the universe for human being to live here. After readings and studying there are scientists like Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkins, Nicola Copernicus that after they reach the limit of their studies, they believe of a higher intelligent mind. At a religious belief some say it is within people, God. Research shows that humans naturally want to know everything, that’s is why people question the world. There is a fine line where most people question a higher power. The world is a beautiful place and people are part of it. The belief of a greater power keeps many people grounded. Many scientists wish to fly within the clouds searching for something that is staring right back. Others are humble even within their intelligent minds to believe that someone or something is guiding the world. This is an important topic that sustains a mind to go within the parameters of people’s existence. The universe is an amazing puzzle and people are the chess of the world.

  • Interesting and always relevant topic, but it might be too broad. Perhaps you could narrow it down, discussing certain fields or aspects of science and religion? – Stephanie M. 8 months ago
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  • Generally I would agree with Stephanie's comments, as your topic suggestion reads a little like a mini-article in itself. Nevertheless it's an topical suggestion for a topic (excuse the pun), considering how crazy the human world is right now. I'd be careful about the Anthropic principle angle though as the assumption that we live in a universe fine tuned for humans is very one-sided. We could, just as easily, have evolved and adapted to the universe as it is - we are, after all, a highly adaptable species. Good luck with your science and religion class. – Amyus 8 months ago
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  • Updated and made corrections. – rghtin2be 7 months ago
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  • An essay can address where religion and science are compatible The Catholic Church's views expressed by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture says evolution was discussed by St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. There is too much focus on the conflict of Creationism versus Evolution, because TV news shows like that. – Joseph Cernik 2 weeks ago
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  • This is possibly THE question of the last 500 years, big topics and marvellous to think about... Looking back through our developmental history - specifically to the point where moved around hunting less and started farming more, we see a significant separation occur. Human beings (unknowingly i think) started to pull back from the Animism of ancient times - that is, we are one with the natural world and energy of the land and animals is the dominant spirit to which we all return. Everything from this point feeds into the development and spreading of the religious practices as we know them today - what i find intriguing is that really, science is just another branch of religion with very strict rules around what is acceptable or not. Religion and science, as we know them at this very minute, are both looking to understand how we found ourselves floating in space on a massive orb like rock spinning around other orb like rocks with zero explanations except what we come up with. They are also unreconcilable in that science refuses to acknowledge anything that can't be repeated again and again by an experiment with equations. Science claims to be neither form nor against anything but they do manage to frame out consciousness, feelings our internal and existential curiosities i.e. everything we use to motivate, consider and do about anything, which coincidently are the very things that drive religious thinking. My honest belief is that they are both pointing at the wonders of the natural world and ultimately looking at the same thing, but they are reluctant to confess their thesis. You and I should always remember the thing underneath all of this that keeps us going - as you have already said is that the cure for boredom is curiosity and as some of us are now acutely aware, there is no cure for curiosity. Thank goodness for that. – MichaelHall 2 weeks ago
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Detective Fiction

Who are some fictional detectives from literature, television, or cinema who don’t get enough attention and adaptations? Why do they deserve more recognition? This obviously excludes Sherlock Holmes and Sam Spade.

  • A fine idea. To actually have a topic to write about you (or whoever wants to take the topic) would need to identify a couple underrated detectives and then identify the reasons they should get more attention. Perhaps it can be a compare & contrast setup; what does this detective have that Sherlock doesn't? What advantages does he/she have over Sherlock that warrant more recognition? – noahspud 4 months ago
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  • I would recommend including your criteria of what a detective is so that readers know what types of characters you will be including. – Sean Gadus 4 months ago
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  • You should look into Walter Mosley's character Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins. He's definitely a character that doesn't get as much spotlight as he should. Mosley is a popular detective fiction writer and Rawlins is the main protagonist in plenty of his novels. You might want to consider Will Graham from Thomas Harris's Hannibal lecter series. – AbeRamirez 2 weeks ago
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Guilty Pleasures

What are we saying when we claim the book we are reading is a "guilty pleasure"? Why do we assume we should feel ashamed for our choice of literature? Are we presuming that all literature can be qualitatively measured? Why should we, even with a tongue-in-cheek intent, associate reading with guilt of any kind? It can be argued that when applied to food there can be at least metrics for what define "good" and "bad" (even if it amounts to the same thing: unnecessary and self-inflicted shame). Who are we assuming judges us for books that we think we should not be reading?

  • Actually a really interesting topic that spans literature and psychology. It would be interesting to also look at the division of categories - women vs men, different age groups, cultural divisions (for instance reading 'The Satanic Verses' in India is a very different 'guilty pleasure' to reading a Mills & Boons in America), even looking at the period changes as different popular culture texts have been adopted into mainstream society. – SaraiMW 6 months ago
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  • From my experience, a lot of 'guilty pleasures' are books that are marketed towards women, and because of this they're seen as inherently inferior to works that are aimed at a mixed audience. While, generally, these books are no less worthwhile than their counterparts, because of the stigma surrounding them people attempt to justify their enjoyment of them as a 'guilty pleasure' to avoid having to get into a lengthy discussion of why they should be allowed to enjoy them without ridicule. – jessicalea 5 months ago
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  • Very interesting idea! You could use works on the production fo taste such as Bourdieu's "Distinction" and consider the role of age, gender, race, sexuality, and other axes in defining what's a "legitimate" pleasure and what's a "guilty" pleasure. Maybe also consider the role of shame in the idea of guilty pleasure – rmostafa 3 months ago
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Reading to your Children: A Lifetime of Legacies

Parents, well some of them, read to their children nightly as they were growing up. The inspiration each of those parents had was probably the same: To instill in their children a desire to read but, more important, a desire to succeed in life. Did those parents know, in advance, what they want to read, or do they just develop. what to read along the along the way? Maybe there are no specific books that transcend a parental era or generation, all that matters is anything that holds a child’s imagination. Parents simply want to see their children attentive and that motivates them to look forward to that next night of reading.

  • I think another interesting thing to consider is how does this play out on our digital age? Do parents find new ways to incorporate storytelling (e.g. audio books) or ignore it all together? – Pamela Maria 3 weeks ago
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  • What a great topic suggestion. I've often read to my godson (now 4) and am still pleased that in a digital age, he still enjoys books, in whatever format. He also enjoys it when I make up stories on the fly, including him as one of the characters. Let's hope children will never lose the simple pleasure that a good book can give. – Amyus 3 weeks ago
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  • Hearing of the story of the legends by the parents is a different thing, and reading about the legends or watching fictional movies is another thing! – PiMann 2 weeks ago
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