An interesting study suggests that reading Harry Potter increases the probability and intensity of anti-Trump political sentiment:

Mutz polled a nationally representative sample of 1,142 Americans in 2014, and again in 2016, asking about their Harry Potter consumption, their attitudes on issues such as waterboarding, the death penalty, the treatment of Muslims and gays, and (in 2016 only) their feelings about Donald Trump on a 0-100 scale.

Party affiliation did not affect the likelihood that a person had read the Harry Potter books, the study found; Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have all read Rowling’s books in roughly equal numbers.

The study found that each Harry Potter book read lowered respondents’ evaluations of Donald Trump by roughly 2-3 points on a 100 point scale.

“This may seem small,” Mutz acknowledges, “but for someone who has read all seven books, the total impact could lower their estimation of Trump by 18 points out of 100. The size of this effect is on par with the impact of party identification on attitudes toward gays and Muslims.”

Time to read the third chapter of The Sorcerer’s Stone to my kids as inoculation against future fascism or at least one hell of a great world to play in at all ages.

Open thread

Open Thread: The Ignerntz Coalition Foiled

Earnest congratulations to Carla Hayden, now our fourteenth Librarian of Congress — first woman, first African-American, and (according to Robinson Meyer, in the Atlantic), “the first Librarian of Congress appointed during the internet age”

Carla Hayden, a former Chicago children’s librarian who rose to preside over the American Library Association and oversee Baltimore’s enormous free library system, was confirmed by the Senate Wednesday to lead the Library of Congress, the nation’s largest library and its oldest federal institution…

Hayden replaces James Billington, an academic historian appointed by President Ronald Reagan who spent almost three decades at the institution’s helm. Billington renovated the Library’s main building and doubled the size of some of its collections (while also enlarging its pocketbook), but he neglected networked technology near the end of his tenure. He retired last year.

As I wrote then, Billington’s lengthy tenure means that Hayden will be the first Librarian of Congress appointed during the internet age— and the first librarian who seems to understand its power…

She inherits a library that desperately requires an update. A report from the Government Accountability Office last year found that the Library, once a leader in adapting to the internet, had fallen behind the times and needed to update its aging computer systems.

Hayden was confirmed 74-18 by the Senate. All of the dissenting senators were Republicans, including Senators Mark Kirk, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Tom Cotton. And though she was unanimously endorsed by the G.O.P-controlled Senate Rules Committee, an anonymous Republican senator blocked the vote to confirm Hayden’s appointment for more than five weeks…

Of course the Talibangelicals in Congress object to a professional knowledge-distributor, especially one with a history of encouraging children and other people of color to step beyond the boundaries of home and neighborhood, as decreed by the councils of the Talibangelical…

I posted this next video back in February, when Hayden was originally nominated. The one below it is C-SPAN’s coverage of her opening statement when confirmation hearings opened back in April.

Summer Travels and Reading

This summer, I’ll be in

Minneapolis (Wed, June 15 only)
Davidson, NC area (for a few days around July 4)
Denver (July 22-24) – I’ll be speaking at VegFest
and Japan (!) early August (Tokyo and Tohoku region)

Area Juicers – email me (see Quick Links menu at right) if you want to get together.

Also, anyone have any reading / listening plans for this summer? I can recommend:

The Long Ships by Frans Bengsston – a rollicking good read about the travels and travails of a Viking. Set in and around the Year 1000.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman – great book that I heard HBO is making into a miniseries. In particular, I reocmmend the ensemble audiobook.

As a bonus, both of these books feature road trips (or, in the case of Ships, the watery equivalent), and (for Betty) both put the Thor back in Thursday.

No Thor in this one, but otherwise fine: the audiobook of Goodwin’s Team of Rivals was a superb listening experience.

Anyone else have any summer plans or recommendations to share?



Authors In Our Midst: Horror, YA and A Work In Progress

I picked three works today. They are diverse, so a little something for everyone. If you want to be featured, send me your information and I’ll include you. Also, you can add your work in the comment section.

I have two playwrights that I’m going to feature next, so if you are a playwright and want to be included, now is the time to shoot me an email.

The previous Authors In Our Midst can be found here. I had a request from Tissue Thin Pseudonym, he’d love it if anyone would review his book Becoming Phoebe (featured in the first author’s post) and post it on Amazon.

Now on to our featured works:


Read about all of them below the fold…

Read more

For A Good Time In Tucson…And Then Tn Charlottesville.

[Obligatory sound track]

Way late with this post, but if any of y’all happen to be in the Tucson, AZ area this weekend, I’ll be doing a bunch of stuff at the excellent Tucson Festival of Books.  It’s truly an all-in event; just an outrageous amount of book love crammed into two days.


My own motes in this maelstrom come at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. both days.  On Saturday, I’ll be participating in a couple of panels, “Genius: Lives in Science” in the morning and “How We Got Here: Histories of Science” in the afternoon.  Sunday morning I’ll be doing a workshop/Q & A on science writing — how that will go will depend on who shows up and what they want to talk about — and in the afternoon we’ll be on to “Our Nearest Neighbors In The Solar System,” a chance to talk Planet Nine, Kuiper Belt Objects, those funky moons that orbit the Pluto-Charon system…and maybe just a bit about our should-be, could-be, never-was friend, Vulcan.

Some come by if you can.  And check out everything else going on — or rather, as that’s more than any one person could manage, check out what you like.

Also — an author’s plea.  If you happen to have read The Hunt for Vulcan (so nice I linked it twice) do tell your friends, and if you’re feeling extra generous, pop up a review on Amazon, or whatever social media venue floats your boat.

Also, also:  for anyone in the Charlottesville, VA vicinity next week, I’ll be talking at the Virginia Festival of the Book as part of a panel on “Mysteries of the Cosmos.”  That’ll be on Friday, March 18 at 4 p.m.  That’s another great celebration of writing, reading and the wondrousness of words; it too has an amazing line up of authors, with only yours-truly mucking up the joint; and a spring weekend spent in sight of the Blue Ridge is never wasted.

And just to broaden out the thread — how about talking about what you’re reading now.  For me, I just finished work in a genre I don’t usually read much: N. K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogywhich I enjoyed a lot, and to which I turned after being truly wowed by her The Fifth Season — a novel of geophysics, race, love and vengeance. I’m not sure what the next novel will be just yet.

My non-fiction jones is being fed by a dual read of Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature:  Alexander Humboldt’s New World and Humboldt’s own Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of Americaand a nightly, just-before-bed dip into Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson — which is just wonderful, a poet diving into another poet’s life and work in a bravura demonstration of criticism as high art.

What’s on your pile?

Image: Simon Luttichuijs, Vanitas still life with skull, books, prints and paintings by Rembrandt and Jan Lievens, with a reflection of the painter at workbetw. 1635-1640.

Authors in Our Midst: Bullets

I see if I want an afternoon distraction I’m going to have to post it myself.

BULLETS e-cover

This is a quick Authors in Our Midst. I received an email this week reminding me that one of our authors is offering a free download this week.

BULLETS – mystery thriller by Elijah Drive

Professional poker player Jon “Big Slick” Elder was minding his own business in a diner when an Arizona sheriff walked in and killed the man sitting next to him, a Mexican day laborer accused of murder. The law officer then arrested Slick simply because the sheriff didn’t like the color of Slick’s skin.

Slick knew that the stranger who had been sitting next to him at the diner was no murderer because, in addition to cards, Slick also kills people for money. The poor man didn’t have the look, but Slick does, and with the help of a beautiful assistant district attorney, a Navajo state trooper and a homegrown federal agent, Slick sets out to prove the dead man’s innocence. What he discovers, as he digs deeper, is a deadly mystery that threatens not only him, but his newfound friends as well. But Slick hates to have anyone… ANYONE… toss him his shoes and tell him to get out of town.

If you need something to read this week, there you have it! Again if you missed it, here are the first three posts: ONE, TWO and THREE

Consider this a book and open thread. See if we can avoid any hint of politics. Unless it’s a political thriller.

The God’s Eye View with Barry Eisler

Long time “Friend of the Blog” Barry Eisler has a new book out called The God’s Eye View:


He’s agreed to host a Q&A with you all, and all we need to do is set up a time that is best for every one!