Critical Linking is a daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web, sponsored by Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky.
“Roughly a quarter of U.S. adults (27%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7. Who are these non-book readers?”
“But after critics suggested that merely changing elements of a mainstream story into sci-fi tropes did not make for a quality story, Gavaler and Johnson decided to revisit the research. This time, 204 participants were given one of two stories to read: both were called ‘Ada’ and were identical apart from one word, to provide the strictest possible control. The ‘literary’ version begins: ‘My daughter is standing behind the bar, polishing a wine glass against a white cloth.’ The science-fiction variant begins: ‘My robot is standing behind the bar, polishing a wine glass against a white cloth.’”
“So, as is our hallowed duty as a literary and culture website—though with full awareness of the potentially fruitless and endlessly contestable nature of the task—in the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a look at the best and most important (these being not always the same) books of the decade that was. We will do this, of course, by means of a variety of lists, and it’s only appropriate to begin our journey with the best debut novels published in English between 2010 and 2019.”