Sunday, October 16, 2011

WEEKEND ROUND-UP: STORYVERSE, ECONOMICS, AND TELLABRATION EVENTS



SMALL DEMONS CREATES A "STORYVERSE" AROUND BOOKS: As described in the video above, Small Demons is a new app (request a free invitation to try it in beta) that has links and pop-up features on the people, places, movies, books, songs and other details that appear in a growing library of novels they've indexed (1,000 by mid-November, and aiming for 50,000 by next spring). You select, say, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" -- and the app will call up information on all the movies mentioned therein (including "Terminator 2," or "Akira"), or Google maps of the exact locations where it takes place, or the songs it alludes to. All these details connected to the book are what Small Demons calls the "Storyverse." Such an app makes for more distracted reading; or maybe it's just a more efficient way of pursuing the small byways of books that we get distracted by anyway!

SLATE ON "NARRATIVE OVER NUMBERS": An interesting piece by Robert Shiller on Slate.com about how the fortunes of the economy are affected by "consumer confidence" (as measured in surveys), which in turn is affected by the stories that circulate in the culture. Worth reading the whole piece, but it concludes: "The timing and substance of these consumer-survey results suggest that our fundamental outlook about the economy, at the level of the average person, is closely bound up with stories of excessive borrowing, loss of governmental and personal responsibility, and a sense that matters are beyond control. That kind of loss of confidence may well last for years. That said, the economic outlook can never be fully analyzed with conventional statistical models, for it may hinge on something that such models do not include: replacing one narrative—currently a tale of out-of-control debt—with a more inspiring story."

NATIONAL STORYTELLING NETWORK'S "TELLABRATION" ON SATURDAY NOVEMBER 19: "Tellabration!" is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Storytelling Network, and includes events in cities and towns worldwide. Click here to see if there are events near you, or here if you want to list an event on the website, or here if you want a Tellabration! manual for event producers.

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