Novel – Key Pax Wed, 03 Aug 2022 03:06:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Novel – Key Pax 32 32 A new algorithm provides rich and detailed information about the location and function of proteins in a cell Wed, 03 Aug 2022 00:21:00 +0000

Humans are good at looking at pictures and finding patterns or making comparisons. Look at a collection of dog photos, for example, and you can sort them by color, ear size, face shape, and more. But could you compare them quantitatively? And perhaps more intriguingly, could a machine extract meaningful information from images that humans cannot?

Now, a team of scientists from Chan Zuckerberg Biohub have developed a machine learning method to quantitatively analyze and compare images – in this case protein microscopy images – without any prior knowledge. As reported in Natural methods, their algorithm, dubbed “cytoself”, provides rich and detailed information about the location and function of proteins in a cell. This capability could speed up research time for cell biologists and potentially be used to speed up the process of drug discovery and screening.

It’s very exciting – we’re applying AI to a new kind of problem and still picking up everything humans know, and more. In the future, we might do this for different types of images. It opens up a lot of possibilities.”

Loïc Royer, corresponding co-author of the study

Cytoself not only demonstrates the power of machine learning algorithms, but it has also generated insights into cells, the basic building blocks of life, and proteins, the molecular building blocks of cells. Each cell contains around 10,000 different types of protein – some working alone, many working together, performing various tasks in various parts of the cell to keep them healthy. “A cell is much more spatially organized than we previously thought. This is an important biological finding on how the human cell is wired,” said Manuel Leonetti, also co-corresponding author of the study.

And like all the tools developed at CZ Biohub, cytoself is open source and accessible to everyone. “We hope this will inspire many people to use similar algorithms to solve their own image analysis problems,” Leonetti said.

No matter a doctorate, machines can learn for themselves

Cytoself is an example of what is called self-supervised learning, which means that humans don’t teach the algorithm anything about protein images, as they do in supervised learning. “In supervised learning, you have to teach the machine one by one with examples; it’s a lot of work and very tedious,” said Hirofumi Kobayashi, lead author of the study. And if the machine is limited to the categories that humans teach it, it can introduce biases into the system.

“Manu [Leonetti] I thought the information was already in the pictures,” Kobayashi said. “We wanted to see what the machine could figure out on its own.”

Indeed, the team, which also included CZ Biohub software engineer Keith Cheveralls, was surprised by the amount of information the algorithm was able to extract from the images.

“The degree of detail in protein localization was much higher than we would have thought,” said Leonetti, whose group develops tools and technologies to understand cellular architecture. “The machine turns each protein image into a mathematical vector. So you can start classifying images that look alike. We realized that by doing this we could predict, with high specificity, which proteins work together in the cell just by comparing their images, which was quite surprising.”

First of its kind

Although there has been previous work on imaging proteins using self-supervised or unsupervised models, never before has self-supervised learning been used so successfully on such a large ensemble. data set of more than one million images covering more than 1,300 proteins measured from living human cells, said Kobayashi, an expert in machine learning and high-speed imaging.

The images were a product of CZ Biohub’s OpenCell, a project led by Leonetti to create a comprehensive map of the human cell, possibly including characterization of the approximately 20,000 types of proteins that power our cells. Published earlier this year in Science were the first 1,310 proteins they characterized, including images of each protein (produced using a type of fluorescent tag) and maps of their interactions with each other.

Cytoself has been key to the success of OpenCell (all images are available at, providing very granular and quantitative information about protein localization.

“The question of what are all the possible ways for a protein to locate in a cell — all the places it can be and all sorts of combinations of places — is fundamental,” Royer said. “Biologists have tried to establish every possible place, over decades, and every possible structure within a cell. But it has always been done by humans looking at the data. how imperfect are human limitations and biases?

Royer added, “As we’ve shown, machines can do this better than humans. They can find finer categories and see distinctions in images that are extremely fine.”

The team’s next goal for cytoself is to track how small changes in protein localization can be used to recognize different cell states, for example, a normal cell versus a cancerous cell. This could hold the key to a better understanding of many diseases and facilitate drug discovery.

“Drug testing is basically trial and error,” Kobayashi said. “But with cytoself, it’s a big leap because you won’t need to experiment one-by-one with thousands of proteins. It’s a low-cost method that could dramatically increase research speed.”


Journal reference:

Kobayashi, H. et al. (2022) Self-supervised deep learning encodes high-resolution features of protein subcellular localization. Natural methods.

This new technology could facilitate the production of electric vehicles Mon, 01 Aug 2022 11:00:25 +0000

Meet the growing global demand for batteries that power electric vehicles and store renewable energy, we will need a lot of lithium: specifically, about 3 to 4 million metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (a commonly used form of metal ) by 2030, according to an April report from McKinsey & Company. That’s a huge jump from last year’s figure of just 500,000 metric tons, thanks in large part to growing demand for lithium-ion batteries.

About half of all lithium is currently mined in South America, where it is found in the highest concentrations in the world, while US supply accounts for 26% and China for 14%. But if things go according to plan, the United States could soon contribute a much larger share of the precious metal. Although we only have one active national mine, new production projects are currently underway across the country.

Now, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers an innovative solution that could stimulate new lithium production while decreasing the harmful environmental problems caused by old methods.

Here’s the background — Why is “white gold” so valuable? For starters, it’s the lightest metal on Earth, making vehicles and energy storage cost-effective. It is also considered an excellent conductor of electricity and heat. Despite an increased urgency for an abundant supply of lithium, sourcing this sought-after metal can be costly for both our wallets and the environment.

Chemists extract lithium from mined ores or, more commonly, salty, mineral-filled water called brine pumped from deep underground. In fact, traces of chemical compounds containing lithium can be found in most soils, rocks, geothermal springs and bodies of water.

Salt water called brine is pumped out of the ground and left to evaporate in pools for months or even years before it can be treated to isolate the lithium.Bloomberg Creative/Bloomberg Creative Photos/Getty Images

These operations are accompanied by significant costs. The proven method of extracting lithium from brine is to dry it in a plastic-lined basin, which leaves deposits of salts containing boron and lithium.

Pumping this salty water can drain underground aquifers and deprive local communities of their water supply, a consequence that often negatively impacts indigenous groups in South America’s “lithium triangle”. This region holds particularly rich supplies of lithium beneath its salt pans. Overall, lithium mining requires huge amounts of water. The process can pollute the surrounding air and soil and leak toxic chemicals into the local water supply, poisoning fish and killing livestock.

Chong Liu, a molecular engineer at the University of Chicago, offers a potential solution. In the PNAS article, Liu and colleagues propose a new method that could both return water to the soil that is typically lost through evaporation and opening up new lithium sites that were once considered too dilute to extract.

Liu suggests sourcing water from “unconventional sources” with relatively low lithium concentrations like geothermal sites, oil and gas reservoirs, and leftover brine from seawater desalination. Scientists could then use a technology called electrochemical intercalation to apply an electrode, or electrically conductive material, to remove the ions from the water and separate the lithium from competing ions, such as sodium and magnesium. In the new study, Liu’s team tested a model of a mineral called olivine for this purpose.

This process could circumvent the need for harsh chemicals typically used to isolate lithium ions, and it wouldn’t require working at sites that could become depleted over time, opening up more land for mining. “The premise of using these unconventional water sources undoubtedly has great potential,” said Richard Herrington, mineral scientist at the Natural History Museum in England. Reverse.

Chong Liu (right) and his colleagues hope that lithium can be extracted from underutilized sources such as geothermal wells and oil fields before our current reserves are depleted.Jean Zic

What they found — To determine whether these unconventional water sources offer enough lithium to warrant extraction, Liu’s team studied water from more than 122,000 sources.. Although they deemed it a worthwhile undertaking, the researchers noted that the amounts of sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium in water from a given source can affect the success of electrochemical intercalation. . Sodium poses a particular challenge in lithium mining, Liu said in a press release.

In the future, scientists need to identify a solid material that allows them to more effectively isolate lithium from dilute water. “I hope these results will encourage others to study lithium mining, especially to find better materials that can increase lithium selectivity,” Liu said.

And after – If successful, this method could reduce the environmental impacts of lithium mining, Herrington notes, and would likely only require a relatively small electrochemical plant to do the job. Plus, it could complement relatively environmentally friendly processes like geothermal power generation and seawater desalination because it feeds on their byproducts. “The footprint here should be quite small,” he says. “If you take this technology at face value, you wouldn’t have any waste going to the surface, and the waste actually goes back underground where it came from.”

Electrochemical intercalation is just one potential solution to the major footprint of lithium mining. For example, the Salton Sea in Southern California offers both abundant geothermal energy and the promise of lithium riches. The lake’s salty water is chock-full of supercharged metal, which was once considered a useless byproduct of geothermal energy production and pumped back into the ground.

Companies are betting on persistent lithium in Salton Sea brine.Ramesh Lalwani/Moment/Getty Images

Today, entrepreneurs like Derek Benson, chief operating officer of a company called EnergySource Minerals, aim to turn one man’s trash into another man’s treasure. EnergySource Minerals extracts lithium from brine using a mysterious proprietary technology with “chemistry that has an affinity for lithium and really only lithium,” Benson told CNN.

Herrington speculates that some of the patented technologies currently in use at Salton Sea use the process of ion exchange, a chemical reaction in which ions are exchanged between water and a resin to rid it of unwanted substances. This technique is already used to treat wastewater.

Together, methods such as ion exchange and electrochemical intercalation could accelerate the push toward cleaner energy and vehicles. But further research is needed to explore the latter. “We’ve defined the playing field better, and now more people can participate and study lithium mining,” Liu said.

The Welsh Great Aunt Novel by John Geraint Sat, 30 Jul 2022 08:12:35 +0000 Pithead Cloud, Photos by Rob Summerhill Photography Nation.Cymru is thrilled to release the fourth part of documentary filmmaker-turned-novelist John Geraint’s seriously playful work.”Great Welsh Aunt Novel” accompanied by a reading by the author. Jean Geraint So far we have followed Jac, 17, on a bus trip down the Rhondda on election …]]> //= do_shortcode(‘[in-content-square]’) ?>

Pithead Cloud, Photos by Rob Summerhill Photography

Nation.Cymru is thrilled to release the fourth part of documentary filmmaker-turned-novelist John Geraint’s seriously playful work.”Great Welsh Aunt Novel” accompanied by a reading by the author.

Jean Geraint

So far we have followed Jac, 17, on a bus trip down the Rhondda on election night in February 1974; and hear about the lives, loves, and scruples of his classmates, “The Society Of Friends.” Now there is a sudden change in weather and tone…

The problem with what I’ve written so far is that it reads too much like a novel.

It’s a novel, I know it, and you know it.

But for the next two hundred pages – if I ever get that far – we have to pretend it’s not.

That it’s not a tale of characters invented in a fictionalized version of the Valleys in the 1970s; not that, but rather a window into the real world, a direct and truthful rendering of the lives and struggles of some real people – what they really thought, what they really did, how they really felt.

It’s the strange pact we made with this novel, as we do with all novels; me as a writer, you as a reader.

We know it’s a constructed narrative: contrived, fabricated, a well-crafted escape from the world we live in.

But we have to pretend to forget that, so that it feels natural, flowing in random, unresolved directions like our daily experience.

I mean, when was the last time you noticed ground from real life?

And the problem is, if this reads like a standard work of fiction – which, if I may be honest, is entirely how my editor is trying to push it – then it’s just Wrong.

Fleeting days

Look, it’s an autobiographical initiation novel: the story of a band of intense and brilliant teenagers, burning with idealism, learning to deal with realism.

How they lose a whole world and gain their own soul (or will it be the other way around?).

How for a brief season they found themselves in the right place at the right time, and felt those fleeting days… well, if not a way of life, not quite a set of values ​​close to what humanity has always had sought, then at least the phantom of an idea that it was not vain to hope for such a thing, or that the model of it might not have once been traced here, in the very place where their stories were beginning.

But if this fiction succeeds even slightly in persuading you that it really happened that way; if, through my effort to trace events from a dark and distant past, to find and shape a beginning, middle and end, a satisfying narrative structure; if by any part thereof it becomes convincing… so it’s just peddling a lie, tricking you into thinking it was as neat, as contained, as clear as that.

Because the truth is, coming of age takes a lifetime.

The change, the growth, the character development that is necessary for any story (at least my editor insists) has never happened so quickly, so unambiguously, or in the way I am asked to write it here.

It didn’t really happen even now, as I write all of this, half a century later.


This story of a sensitive young boy growing up is actually written by a hypersensitive boy who never grew up, who still needs to be reminded that it’s not all about him, who clings stubbornly in defiance of all evidence to a view of the hopelessly starry-eyed Rhondda, a close-up of his small world as it has never been, and certainly is not now, Oes Aur a fu, na fu erioed, a golden age that never really happened.

So the better it is in writing, the more it reads like one of those perfectly banal, perfectly structured romances where everything is resolved just before the end of the penultimate chapter, the less useful it will have to say about reality. the story it purports to tell, and deeper will be its failure as an act of telling the truth.

That’s the big picture.

Getting the writing to work at a granular level also involves disappointments.

Compromise. Omissions.

Making it readable involves throwing so much into what these characters have been through, a myriad of seemingly unimportant details that yet color their way of thinking.

Take these sentences from the chapter you just read, where ‘Jac’ imagines ‘moving with the tide of history, ready and willing to break upon the mole of this police line…’.

It’s a bit squished anyway, but that maritime metaphor that comes to mind from a coalfield boy might have struck you a little odd.

Would he have actually known and used the word “mole” to designate a dyke?

What if I told you that a hundred yards from the old Scotch colliery on Llwynypia Road is Rhondda Sea Cadet Headquarters? Sea Cadets? In the Rhondda?

Improbable, but true (we will come back to the principle of improbability later; probably).

And what about The Onedin lineseries 3, episode 13, which “Jac” would have seen on BBC1 just a month before, “mole” is used in this precise sense no less than seven times.

More goes into writing a novel than you might think, and a lot more gets left out.

There are no great writers, just great editors (or so my editor says).

Foresight against nature

There is another pitfall inherent in writing about the past.

Less important, but perhaps more annoying: the temptation to credit my protagonist with unnatural foresight, the gift of prophecy.

Consider again how the last chapter ended… “Why should fame be the domain of the naturally gifted? One day, maybe soon, music will become more democratic and virtuosity will matter less.

Such a precise and prescient description of punk and how it turned the world upside down.

Oh good? Did anyone in the Rhondda in 1974 see Johnny Rotten and his Pistols coming?

Not me. Nor any of my friends.

So it’s a pretty cheap trick to suggest that ‘Jac’ did it.


Now that you’ve been warned, you’ll now be on the lookout for such tricks: don’t trust me any more than you would trust an ad that appears on your Facebook News Feed.

It may be worth remembering, however, before you get upset, that when it comes to ‘Jac’ and his friends, you are blessed – or cursed – with an astonishing degree of unnatural foresight.

You know precisely how their world will evolve.

Not in the small details of their lives, but certainly in what really matters: in the kind of politics and society that will emerge in the decades they have yet to see unfold, in what will become of the hopes and dreams they cherish in their youthful idealism.

You know Thatcherism and AIDS, the miners’ strike of 1984-5, the fall of the wall and the Gulf wars, personal computers, the Internet, smartphones, climate change, Covid, Putin.

So please give them – and me – a little slack: in their naive eyes, you are possessed of divine foreknowledge.

Photos by Rob Summerhill Photography


And, if my publisher will allow me to clarify for a moment before continuing, I will mention one last difficulty I have in writing this novel: it is so wet.

Buckets and stair rods, dogs and cats, showers, torrents, downpours: Rhondda’s rain is biblical.

It’s a miracle there isn’t After people here baptized Noah.

Rocking, swarming, bombing, pissing – you could write a book about it.

If you could stay dry long enough.

And that’s what this book is, I suppose: the wettest novel ever recorded.

Makes The Wuthering Heights read like one of those Mediterranean beach romances that “Jac” imagined his “aunt” must be absorbed in, all those times she kept quiet about him.

Now, in everything but her reading habits, this “auntie” – whom you have not really met yet – was a remarkable woman (or rather, as we shall see, fifty-one remarkable women. and a man).

But her role in this coming-of-age story, insofar as it’s a coming-of-age story, never has anything to do with what I’ll suggest shortly.

I don’t mess with precipitation…

The Welsh Great Aunt Novel by John Geraint is published by Cambria Books and you can buy a copy here or in good bookstores.

You can find previous excerpts here. We’ll have another exclusive clip next week.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee one month, you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit national information service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Author Joe Belcastro attends book conventions across the country to promote his novel, DOMINATURE Thu, 28 Jul 2022 01:11:03 +0000

TAMPA, FL – Joe Belcastro is on tour for his debut novel DOMINATURE: What If the Devil… Banished God… From Heaven… The book is an epic fantasy adventure that reimagines divine beings in this provocative alternate retelling of one of the famous creation stories of the ‘humanity.

Regarding the tour, Belcastro says, “It’s always a pleasure to interact with people from all walks of life, to share my story and learn theirs. While I’ve toured extensively during my time with WWE as Head Writer and Producer, this solo tour is an exciting and empowering journey for me as a storyteller embarking on a new platform with a bold premise.

The DOMINATURE story remixes new and familiar historical characters and events in a modernized way, while exploring the nature of good and evil by asking the introspective question: can a being overcome who they inherently are?

Asked about the early reception, Belcastro says, “Anyone who sees and reads the cover of the book is immediately intrigued by where I went with the story. It’s cool to witness this in person.

Belcastro is available for interviews throughout the tour and updates can be found by following him on Instagram and Twitter.

Upcoming confirmed book tour appearances:


August 14 – MIGHTY CON (Madison, WI)


September 2-4 – FANBOY EXPO (Orlando, FL)

September 23-25 ​​– NECRONOMICON (Tampa, FL)

October 1 – COLLINGSWOOD BOOK FESTIVAL (Collingswood, NJ)

October 15 – TWIN TOWNS BOOK FESTIVAL (St. Paul, MN)

October 22-23 – FALL 2022 BOOK FESTIVAL (Virtual)

October 29 – LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL (Baton Rouge, LA)


Additional appearances in Belcastro can be added. Watch for updates for these and other events:

November 5 – PORTLAND BOOK FESTIVAL (Oregon)

November 5-6 – TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL (Austin, TX)

November 12-14 – Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

About the Author:

Joe Belcastro is a provocative storyteller who once created characters as the head writer and producer for WWE: World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. He’s now a novelist with his first epic fantasy adventure, DOMINATURE. In it, Joe explores the nature of good and evil and asks the compelling question: What if the devil banished God from heaven? Penetrating deep within, Joe uses his keen sense of drama and the wit of his days as a former journalist and film critic to deliver a story based on the best-selling book of all time – The Bible. Joe lives in Tampa, Florida, where he is laying the groundwork for a charitable foundation and writing his next novel. For more information, visit Joe Belcastro’s Linktree.

Media Contact
Company Name: Black Castle
Contact person: Desiree Duffy
E-mail: Send an email
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Oral chemo-new drug combination leads to better outcomes in patients with metastatic breast cancer Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:05:18 +0000

Treatment with a combination of oral paclitaxel and encequidar resulted in higher confirmed tumor response rates in patients with metastatic breast cancer compared to intravenously administered paclitaxel, according to the results of a recent study. published.

The data — which was printed in the Journal of Clinical Oncology — also demonstrated that neuropathy, a side effect associated with weakness and pain in the hands and feet, was less common and less severe in patients who received the oral paclitaxel plus encequidar combination.

According to the study authors, taxane-based treatment regimens, such as paclitaxel, are among the most effective systemic therapies for early and advanced breast cancer.

However, they noted, these treatments must be given through a tube or needle inserted into a vein (intravenously). The problem with this method of administration, the researchers wrote, is that the risk of developing neuropathy is high.

Neuropathy, the study authors explain, is a major dose-limiting side effect associated with this method of treatment and can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life and limit their treatment options.

For these reasons, the study authors set out to assess the potential effects of treating patients with an orally administered chemotherapy regimen.

“Potential advantages make oral administration of paclitaxel attractive, including home administration, no need for (intravenous) access, and… no hypersensitivity reactions or need for corticosteroid and antihistamine prophylaxis,” they wrote.

Paclitaxel has low bioavailability when administered orally into a patient’s body, which means that a very small percentage of the initial drug reaches its target. But when oral paclitaxel is combined with encequidar, the drug may be better absorbed by the body – which is why the researchers decided to test this combination of two drugs.

The phase 3 study included 402 postmenopausal patients who were at least 18 years old. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either oral paclitaxel plus encequidar or intravenous paclitaxel.

The main objective of the study was to determine the confirmed tumor response rate (the percentage of patients whose disease decreases or disappears after treatment) in each group. The researchers also aimed to assess the duration of response (the time between treatment randomization and disease progression or death in patients whose disease initially responded to treatment) among the two treatment groups, as well as the overall survival (the time between treatment and death from any cause) and progression-free survival (the time between treatment and disease progression).

The results showed that there was a significant difference in terms of confirmed tumor response between the group that received the oral paclitaxel regimen (36%) and the intravenous paclitaxel group (23%).

In September 2020, seven patients remained on treatment with the combination versus one patient on intravenous paclitaxel monotherapy.

Combination therapy was also associated with a better median progression-free survival (8.4 months) than intravenously administered paclitaxel (7.4 months).

The median overall survival results were 22.7 months in the oral paclitaxel/encequidar group, versus 16.5 months in the intravenous paclitaxel group. However, the difference here was not statistically significant, meaning the researchers could not be sure if it was the treatment regimen that caused the improvement in overall survival time.

More patients in the combination group had to discontinue treatment within the first 10 weeks of starting the trial (26% versus 17%, respectively). The incidence of neuropathy, however, was significantly higher in the group that received intravenous paclitaxel. In fact, moderate or even worse neuropathy occurred in 31% of those who received only paclitaxel and 8% of those who received the combination.

In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration rejected the application for approval of oral paclitaxel plus encequidar, citing concern about a potential increased risk of developing neutropenia as a result of treatment or disease. It should be noted that neutropenia occurs when a person has an abnormally low number of white blood cells. When this happens, patients may be at higher risk of infection.

Investigators noted that this study was performed to support filing for registration for agency approval for the combination of oral paclitaxel and encequidar. They cautioned, however, that future studies should confirm these findings.

“Patients with elevated liver enzymes, serum bilirubin, or low serum albumin at study entry were at increased risk for early high-grade neutropenia and infectious complications, which in some cases were fatal,” writes the report. “Careful patient selection, use of growth factors and dose reductions as well as close monitoring of patients at increased risk are warranted. Further studies to optimize dosage in patients with hepatic dysfunction are warranted.

For more information on cancer updates, research and education, be sure to subscribe to CURE® newsletters here.

Author Penelope Delgado publishes her second novel Sun, 24 Jul 2022 01:37:46 +0000 The Canarian author Penelope Delgado has published her second novel, The Circus of Forgotten Talent, with which she has achieved great success not only in the Canary Islands but throughout the Spanish region and even beyond national borders. The book takes the reader to a cold, rainy autumn day in London in 1951, when Little Stone was born. Soon he is orphaned by a son, abandoned in the tent of a traveling circus, so he is part of a strange family. What is the real genius that lives in the depths of our existence waiting to be discovered?

Penelope Delgado thus invites readers to travel through the pages of this new book. It’s a “very moving” journey because it has many characters and many settings, but above all “it’s a journey into the human heart” because “what is outside, around us, is so beautiful , but also inside of us”. “is a wonderland”. “We are this rough diamond that most of the time nobody wants to polish, but we cannot wait for this practice to come from outside, rather we have to do it ourselves”, explains the Canarian author who invites the reader . “Embrace this reality with light and shadow”.

Delgado publishes The Circus of Forgotten Talent with the editorial staff of Circulo Rojo and confirms that his first work was very personal because he needed to empty himself, to bring out what was in him, himself. To be filled with novelties. And that allowed him to grow as a writer to approach this new creative project. Thus, she admits to having been “very honest” when writing this second novel. “I have great confidence in what I did and I think the story touched the general public; Somehow I managed to make people feel identified with certain characters and they also see the need for this practice of looking within,” Canarian explains.

The idea for this second novel was born in the most difficult part of imprisonment. “Everyone walked out to applause and when they went home and closed the windows it was like the world had stopped and there was only one thing to see. ‘inside.’ He says he took advantage of this moment, apart from the misfortune, “as an opportunity to stop and analyze our path, because usually we walk like automatons”.

“I have the impression of having experienced an evolution on the literary level because I feel more comfortable facing a blank page and I am able to examine more serenely”, explains the author, who has not badly covered. Also dared the character in this new plot. To shape this story, he was “inspired by the man, by what people would think when they had time to look inside themselves”. “I felt very calm writing that,” she admits and adds, while you always have to submit to the arrival of inspiration, it felt good. “I took it as a flexibility exercise and it felt like a wonderful time regardless,” he says.

After the enthusiastic reception of her book at the Madrid Book Fair, she says she is “overwhelmed” and “happy” because it has allowed her to sell many copies and that her book has had an impact in Mexico or even in Canada. . And in full promotion of his second novel, he already wants to tackle the third, for which he already has some ideas and for which he promises to be even more ambitious.

8 novels that explore the pros and cons of life as a writer Fri, 22 Jul 2022 10:42:26 +0000 This content contains affiliate links. When you purchase through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Writing fiction is not about conjuring up a new life. Rather, it is the reinvention of a life we ​​have already lived. By writing fiction, we engage more meaningfully with our lived experiences and give them meaning. However, the life of a writer is far from glamorous and full of ups and downs. How feasible is writing as a career? Is this a financially viable option? How much of our job do we owe to others? When do you start calling yourself a writer? The writer’s life is full of contradictions and confusion, yet that’s what hundreds of us choose to do every day. This is how we live and breathe and say we are alive. Rejections abound and financial glitches are part of this game, but writers keep writing regardless.

What promises this profession which, despite its many pitfalls, still tempts so many? Although writing can often be a solitary activity, many people have testified to the fact that they cannot imagine themselves doing anything else. What promise does this profession hold that appeals to so many? Here, I’ve curated a list of novels about the lives of writers who attempt to explore these areas on their own.

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

Casey has been writing a novel for six years now, but it’s far from finished. She waits for tables to support herself and still mourns the death of her mother. While most of his friends have given up on their creative ambitions, Casey still hopes to finish his novel one day. She is also in love with two men simultaneously, adding to her already chaotic life. A beautiful story about love, heartbreak and creativity, and how they co-exist, this book is an honest portrait of a writer’s life.

book cover of The Messy Lives of People

The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick

Liv, a mother of two, can barely make ends meet. She dreams of one day becoming a writer, but her job as a maid cuts her wings. When she lands the role of housekeeper for her favorite author, Essie, she’s over the moon. They eventually develop a healthy friendship. But Essie suddenly dies and her wish is for Liv to finish her last novel. As Liv begins to write, she makes startling discoveries that will forever change the course of her life.

Mona cover

Mona by Pola Oloixarac (Translated by Adam Morris)

Mona, a Peruvian writer, loves drugs, cigarettes and poking fun at American college culture. When she is nominated for the most important literary prize, she decides to give up her addictions and her distractions and move to a small village in Sweden. Here, she’s stuck with her mostly male contestants nursing envy, backstabbing and sometimes sleeping with each other, and exchanging compliments, albeit fake ones. In the midst of this, she is still haunted by old demons. A victim of condescension and bizarre sexual encounters, how will Mona put her past behind her, if at all?

Cover of Jameela Green Ruins Everything

Jameela Green Ruins Everything by Zarqa Nawaz

Jameela Green’s only real desire is to see her memoir come to The New York Times List of bestsellers. But her dream remains a dream and for solace she seeks spiritual guidance at her local mosque. Imam Ibrahim thinks she is superficial but still agrees to help her. In return, she must perform a good deed. Meanwhile, after a series of bizarre events, the imam disappears and Jameela decides to launch an operation to save him. A sharp take on ambition, the price of success, and American foreign policy, this book is quite a page-turner.

Cover of One Hell of a Book

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

An African-American author is on tour to promote his novel. This plot builds another: the story of Soot, a young black boy, who appears to the author during his tour. The stories converge and delve into themes of family, race, art, parenthood, and financial status. What do writers owe to their profession? How do writers express ever-evolving truth through their writing? Will our protagonist finish his book tour and what kind of world will he leave behind?

Cover of Meet Me In The Margins

Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson

Savannah is a low-level editor at Pennington Publishing. She is also writing a romance novel but she keeps it a secret from the world. One day, she leaves her manuscript in her secret corner. Later, she discovers that someone left comments on the margins. Although she is initially on the defensive, she realizes that she needs the help of this mysterious editor. A wonderful book about the power of positive feedback, the various struggles of being an emerging writer, and how to balance work and life, this book is a very entertaining read.

Cover of A Novel Obsession

A New Obsession by Caitlin Barasch

Twenty-four-year-old Naomi is struggling. Desperate to write a novel, she doesn’t know what story to write. Then she meets a man through Tinder and thinks maybe love is what she’s meant to write about. However, life has a way of confusing us, so enters her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, Rosemary. Determined to figure out how their stories are connected, Naomi’s occasional internet bullying turns into a friendship with Rosemary. How willing is Naomi to manipulate the truth for the sake of her craft? More importantly, what is ethical and what is not?

book cover of A Theater for Dreamers

A theater for dreamers by Polly Samson

In the 1960s, the Greek island of Hydra was inhabited by a group of poets, writers, musicians, painters, etc. Then Erica arrives with nothing but grief for her mother and a pile of notebooks. She quietly observes this circle and comes to terms with who she is. An insightful novel about illusions, innocence, loss, dreams and everything that makes up the writer’s life, therefore human life, this book is raw and will stay with you for a long time.

There is no universal literary experience. All the stories mentioned above shed light on its various aspects. I hope we continue to write more and more fiction about the lives of fiction writers, because there will never be enough books about who makes the books happen.

Top 10 21st Century Fantasy Novels | fantasy books Wed, 20 Jul 2022 11:00:00 +0000

AAt the heart of every fantasy is something unreal, impossible, or at the very least, so extraordinary that it takes us outside the universe we think we live in. The construction of a fantasy world surrounds these unreal things with recognizable furnishings and plausible emotion, Coleridge’s “voluntary suspension of disbelief” may intervene. As we have learned from writers from Tolkien to Pratchett, the task of writers and readers is easier when the impossible involves patterns and plots that we recognize from oral accounts such as tales, legends, and stories. myths. It also links most fantasy literature, up to the turn of the millennium, to European culture, as the myths we know are probably Greco-Roman or Norse; tales, German or French or sometimes Scandinavian.

However, in this century, a new wave of fantasy is challenging this European domination. Writers of color and writers from indigenous cultures use magical narratives to describe experiences and express points of view that are difficult to convey within the confines of realism. One of the effects of fantasy is the way it forces us to consider the categories of the real, the possible, and the ordinary – all the norms that fantasy violates. And, in particular, the new fantasy reveals how culture-bound these norms are. Non-European traditions delineate boundaries differently and include as natural entities things that we might consider supernatural. From these different ways of setting the limits of the possible and giving meaning to the impossible come different versions of the fantastic.

The works I list here not only tell gripping stories set in vividly imagined worlds, they are also worth reading for how their versions challenge our sense of the ordinary and the limits of the real.

1. Nalo Hopkinson’s New Moon Arms (2007)
Caribbean-Canadian writer Hopkinson is known for her science fiction world-building, but she also excels at more intimate fantasies. The magic of this book involves the protagonist’s objects of manifestation from her childhood menopause as well as her encounter with a selkie child. The novel immerses readers in the sensory experience and social dynamics of its island environment, and its emphasis on the late passage of a middle-aged woman defies expectations of fantasy tales.

2. Who’s Afraid of Death by Nnedi Okorafor (2010)
Like much of Okorafor’s work, this novel draws on his experiences as a child of Nigerian immigrants, hearing stories and spending time with his extended family in Africa. Protagonist Onyesonwu, whose name translated from Igbo provides the title of the book, is the child of rape, fitting into neither society but inheriting the powers of both sides of her parentage. In a shift from the conventional “chosen hero” narrative, Onyewonsu ends up rewriting the prophecies and remaking his world. In this and other science fantasies, Okorafor helped invent a form she calls African Futurism, which was embraced by readers and emulated by a talented new generation of African and diasporic writers, including Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki. and Khadija Abdalla Bajaber.

3. Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston (2011)
Playwright and scholar Hairston pits Native American and African American folklore against racism in this southern journey from Jim Crow to the beginnings of a black film industry at the Chicago World’s Fair. The magic of the stage converges with a real conjuration to challenge violence and oppression. In a sequel, Will Do Magic for Small Change, Hairston follows its protagonists back to their African roots and into a future among artists, ghosts and (surprisingly) aliens.

4. Alif the Invisible by G Willow Wilson (2012)
Wilson worked as a journalist in Cairo during the Arab Spring uprisings of the early 2010s. This World Fantasy award winner combines computer hacking and Arab mysticism in a dazzling tale of love, economic disparity, adventure and power. of metaphor. Along the way, Wilson also satirizes the minor character of an American convert to Islam who is blind to most of the magic happening around her.

5. A Stranger to OlOndria by Sofia Samatar (2013)
In this beautifully written tour of a complex underworld, Samatar explores ghosts, cultural clashes, and the effect of written language on a purely oral culture, all while delivering engaging characters and a gripping adventure story. The fantasy world of fiction reflects Samatar’s own immersion in multiple cultures as the daughter of a Somali immigrant and scholar of Arabic literatures with teaching experience in Sudan and Egypt.

All the awards… NK Jemisin at New York Comic Con 2019. Photography: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ReedPOP

6. The fifth season of NK Jemisin (2015)
Jemisin has won every award, and deservedly so, for the books in his Broken Earth trilogy, of which this is the first. The books might be set in the distant future on a world that isn’t our Earth, but they also clearly connect with the here and now, with themes of climate change, degradation of the environment, racial injustice and the burdens of the past. Bold second-person narration and a complex, admirable but not always likable hero make this book so much more than the sum of its themes.

7. The House with Broken Wings by Aliette de Bodard (2015)
Alternating between science fiction and fantasy, de Bodard has already amassed an impressive number of Nebula, Locus and British Science Fiction Association awards. This novel is the start of a gothic fantasy series involving fallen angels and a war that has left Paris half-ruined and contaminated with magical pollution. The contamination reaches the depths of the Seine, where, unbeknownst to most people (and other earthly beings), a community of Annamese, or Vietnamese, dragons have taken refuge. The series reflects the multiracial politics and multicultural reality of contemporary European cities.

8. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (2020)
Roanhorse caught the attention of the fantasy and science fiction community in 2017 with a satirical short story titled Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience. She followed that up with a pair of science fantasies juxtaposing Diné legends against a post-apocalyptic landscape and, in Black Sun and its sequels, ventured into epic fantasy. Its fantasy world is a magical version of Mesoamerica without European invasion: its conflicts arise from tensions within and between factions and religious cults on the continent of Meridian.

9. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2020)
With this book, Coates deftly moved from non-fiction to writing novels. His story is set in the pre-Civil War South, but rarely uses the word “slave” to describe the people Coates calls Tasked. Rich historical detail conveys the terrible effect the task had on all those caught in the system, and especially on the young and gifted Hiram Walker. Walker’s own job is to look after the master’s legitimate and irresponsible son, who is his half-brother. From his mother, Hiram inherited a magical gift of unpredictable escape, the title Water Dancing. As he learns to harness this gift, he goes to work for the great Harriet Tubman. Like Octavia Butler in Kindred, Coates finds the horrors of slavery too overwhelming for mere realism: only the fantastic can take the reader into such a world.

10. A Djinn Master by P Djèlí Clark (2021)
Historian Clark deviates from his studies of the American past in this magical alternate history set in a steampunk Cairo at the turn of the 20th century. The novel is a mystery featuring a headstrong detective facing off against powerful human and non-human adversaries. The real interest is not so much in the plot as in the character interaction and the richly detailed setting. This Cairo is a meeting place between east and west, north and south (a recurring theme is the racial profiling of Nubians and Abyssinians by the palest Egyptian aristocracy), past and present , science and magic, all skillfully invoked in the details of architecture, costume and custom.

Fantasy: How It Works by Brian Attebery is published by Oxford University Press. To help the Guardian and the Observer, order your copy from Delivery charges may apply.

]]> What is the difference between mystery, suspense and suspense novels? Mon, 18 Jul 2022 10:37:32 +0000

Broken by James Patterson

Nothing could tear Detective Michael Bennett away from his new wife except the murder of his best friend. NYPD lead homicide investigator Michael Bennett and FBI kidnapping specialist Emily Parker have a story. When not reporting to FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, Bennett ventures outside of its jurisdiction. The investigation he undertakes is the most brilliant detective work of his career…and the most intensely personal. A portrait begins to emerge of a woman as adept at keeping secrets as she is at forging powerful bonds. A woman whose enemies had the means and motives to silence her—and her protectors.

The mystery genre is full of different ways to seek out the truth – or at least the facts – about a crime. During the COVID pandemic, I’ve discovered a love of crime novels, especially on audio, and especially the “comfortable” variety. As I became a connoisseur, I often wondered what separates the three major categories of “mystery” from each other. I did some research and, not being the only person asking this question, I found answers! Whether they are satisfactory or not is another matter, of course. For the purposes of this discussion, I break down the overall mystery genre into three main categories: mystery, suspense, and thriller.


A traditional detective story follows any detective, amateur or professional, as he attempts to solve a crime. The reader generally follows the detective, uncovering clues with the characters. Detectives themselves are usually in no real danger from the antagonist and are often completely out of touch with the crime. The most famous detective in Western literature is, of course, Sherlock Holmes, who made his debut in Beeton’s “Christmas Annual” in 1887 as the protagonist of A study in scarlet. Other great examples include The red queen dies by Frankie Y. Bailey, The Worried Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan, and A spy at home by YS Lee.


Thrillers take the basic tenets of a detective novel and add an element of danger for the protagonist, who may or may not be a detective in the traditional sense. Often the heroes of this subgenre are not trained detectives but have specialist knowledge; here are your Brennan Temperances (from both series of novels, beginning with Already deadand Bones celebrity), your Dexters Morgan (starting with the novel Dark Dreamer Dexter and also the tv show Dexter). One of the neat things about books labeled as “thrillers” is that they seem to get made into TV shows or movies more often than the other two genres. Maybe it’s because people prefer to be “excited” rather than “in suspense?” Whatever the reason, if you’re an author considering writing in the mystery genre, looking into the description of “thriller” (if not the definition given here) might help you get that options money.


Thrillers are a bit rarer as a standalone subgenre, but still popular. While mysteries and thrillers are usually told from the point of view or perspective of the protagonist (first person present/past or third person present/past with a single focus, respectively), storytelling in thriller stories is less defined. . Indeed, suspense implies that the reader knows more than the protagonist, which we can only do if the narration is omniscient or multi-perspective, that is to say told from the point of view of more than one character. Thriller novels also use time skipping in storytelling; they often start either in the media or at the end, but with crucial details left out. An excellent example is that of Liane Moriarty big little lies, a book that begins with a character’s death, then travels back in time to figure out how it happened, bringing together the experiences of all the key characters. You probably already know big little lies is also a TV show, with Season 1 covering the events of the novel.

In reality, more often than not the three subgenres all converge, sometimes in a single novel, and sometimes in a series. Sherlock Homes is not in danger in A study in scarlet, but as his story continues, told from the sole perspective of Dr. John Watson, the danger to Holmes becomes clear with the introduction of his nemesis, Moriarty. Likewise, Dexter Morgan’s real drama begins when he encounters a killer who takes inspiration from his work to get closer to him; his work as a “detective” character all predates his story. And of course, there is no official definition of any of these, just as there is no real definition of any genre of fiction. We come to a genre with an expectation: mysteries will eventually be solved, romances will tantalizingly evolve into a realization of love, and so on. And while those expectations are entirely justified, readers tend to make a book popular when it subverts its genre a bit. .

One of the subversions we’re seeing is in the cozy mystery subgenre, where the crimes happen off-screen and there’s a lore without swearing and sex. Readers express more interest in cozies which, while following a comfortable formula, allow for more adult themes.

When it comes to defining whether a book is a mystery, a thriller or a suspense, the real question is: what will readers gravitate toward? And the answer seems to be that books labeled “thriller” or “exciting” tend to do better than books labeled as “mystery” or “suspense.” So while it’s helpful to know the categories, ultimately it’s up to you as the reader to read freely through the genres and tropes and then decide what you prefer.

7 Great Novels About Young Female Friendships ‹ Literary Center Fri, 15 Jul 2022 08:58:10 +0000

You know the blaze of friendship between young women when you see it: two teenage girls sharing headphones and leaning against the window of a suburban bus stop; the wild screams and clinking of espresso and martini glasses at a college roommate party; an affirmation of “you’re too good for him” to a young woman sobbing into her friend’s shoulder on a downtown sidewalk. Intimacy, fever, fragility. A young woman’s best friend is her confidante and companion – an emotionless refuge from the insensitivity of the outside world.

I grew up as a child with a shy streak and a fixation on niche hobbies. I spent much of my childhood and even my early teens in a corner of the classroom or schoolyard, peeking at close friendships and wondering what it would be like. to be part of it. The Sisterhood of Travel Pants and Anne of Green Gables provided escapes into the realm of, as Anne would put it, having “close friends”. Once I got over my wall, I constantly thought about the thrill of finally having friends. I went from conceptualizing friendships I didn’t have to writing odes to ones I was making now.

I started writing my first novel, Groupies, shortly after spending three days in the scorching heat of a music festival with one of my best friends, Anna. We were both 18, ready to run arm in arm and rejoice in our newfound freedom. I wanted to write a book about rock groupies, a premise that apparently had nothing to do with friendship. To be a groupie is to pursue an explicitly romantic or sexual relationship with a celebrity.

But a groupie – a young woman who always oscillates between joy and devastation – would need a friend or two to keep her together. Faun, the main character, is powered by his friendship with his real blue pal, Josie. Josie’s sass and charm inspire and intimidate Faun. Having a best friend who is arguably cooler and more successful than her is both an advantage and a burden. As Faun enters the world of rock-n-roll, she bonds with the other women in their ranks.

Adulthood leaves a permanent bruise. A girl’s closest friends can ease that pain and keep her going, or they can double the pain and break her heart more than romance ever could. Again, usually it’s both. Young women can form bonds so dangerously strong that they are on the verge of implosion. They love their best friends. They hate their best friends. They need it to navigate their budding potential.

Now that Groupies is over, I still find myself turning to stories of friendships between young women. I never tire of hymns to the power, passion and undeniable magic of these unstable and unbreakable bonds.


Robin Wassermangirls on fire
(Harper Perennial)

The title keeps its promise: the burning friendship of this book really burns. Wasserman introduces us to Battle Creek, a small town ravaged by the Satanic Panic of the 1990s, as lonely, bookish teenager Dex quickly befriends a mysterious Cobain devotee named Lacey. Dex and Lacey become close, then codependent, then obsessive. Dark secrets unfold in this bloody ride through two volatile girls discovering their collective power. Wasserman’s beautiful prose contrasts with the dark tone of a book so captivating that I read it many times when it first came out.

fiona and jane

John Chen Ho, Fiona and Jane

This 2022 must-have is a deep dive into two childhood friends, written through patchwork chapters with a shifting timeline. Ho uses sharp observations and tender prose to paint a full (and often contrasting) portrait of a lifelong friendship. Through back-and-forth stories, Fiona and Jane’s friendship evolves as they navigate identity, desire, and fear as Asian women in contemporary America. The bittersweet warmth of this book shows that a friendship can be just as exciting and complicated as a romance.


Candice Carty-Williams Queen
(Gallery/Scout Press)

In Queenie, Carty-Williams introduces us to an unforgettable main character, a twenty-something whose life is a bit catastrophic. As a Jamaican-British woman, Queenie doesn’t fit her job as a journalist and is constantly torn between her family’s expectations and the bustling, unforgiving culture of London. While her romantic misadventures take center stage in this story, she finds her heart in Queenie’s friendships. She can be self-centered and reckless, but her friendships challenge her, comfort her, and motivate her to move forward and understand herself by first understanding what others need.

Last summer on State Street

Toya Wolfe, Last summer on State Street
(William Morrow & Company)

Mention a book about a group of preteen girls bonding, and I’m already there. Wolfe’s debut is an epic exploration of a vital summer shared between four young girls in Chicago’s housing projects. Fe Fe is a brave and daring protagonist and her blossoming friendships with girls she has little in common with other than closeness are striking. Wolfe takes his reader through the complexities of growing up when your world is literally destroyed. This book revels in the eternal glow of the temporary bonds of a childhood summer.

social creature

Tara Isabelle Burton, social creature
(Anchor Books)

This propulsive novel opens with a pampered Lavinia preparing her new friend, the unattached Louise, for a party. She makes her up, dresses her, and philosophizes about the heartless pomp of the New York socialite scene. Louise is, of course, captivated by Lavinia’s social power. What follows is a difficult twist through debauchery and distress as the two young women bond. While Lavinia might see Louise as just a project, Louise quickly becomes obsessed with Lavinia and her life. No spoilers here, but if you like The Talented Mr. Ripleythis book is for you.

These impossible things

Salma El-Wardany, These impossible things
(Grand Central Publishing)

This book is hopeful and joyful, even as its three key characters grapple with the difficulties of love and faith. Malak, Kees and Jenna are three young Muslim women who have been friends since they were children. Their friendship is strong and remains so until college ends and the future becomes frighteningly real and unknowable. Each young woman is fully realized and complex – a hugely impressive feat. The friendships between Malak, Kees and Jenna are stepping stones and stabilizing forces through the tension between what they want for their lives and who they are.supposed want to.

The hot girl

Claire Messud, The hot girl
(WW Norton & Company)

Messud’s evocative novel comes from the perspective of protagonist Julia, as she pieces together a friendship that once defined every part of her life. As Julia reflects on the lost magic of childhood and the all-too-familiar misfortunes of adolescence, she realizes how things went wrong and how, no matter what, the bond she shared with her friend Cassie will cling to her forever. This book feels like a late August night – warm but dark, sparkling with the feeling that something pure is coming to an inevitable end.



Groupies by Sarah Priscus is available through William Morrow & Company.