All News

In this week’s edition: State laws are helping drive the wave of book bans in the U.S.; the secret list of websites that generative AI consumes in order to sound smart; interviews with Roxane Gay and Judy Blume; ChatGPT prompt-writing as a potential new freelance frontier; and more.

Book Bans Rising Rapidly in the U.S., Free Speech Groups Find
The New York Times
A new report from PEN America details the rise of censorship efforts across the country, with the majority driven by organized groups or state legislation.

House Approves Bill Targeting Publishers for Sending Schools Sexually Explicit Books
The Tennessean
A Tennessee bill that would subject book publishers and distributors to criminal prosecution for sending materials that violate state obscenity laws to public schools is headed to Governor Bill Lee’s desk for signature.

Texas House Passes Bill That Aims to Keep Sexually Explicit Material Out of School Libraries
The Texas Tribune
Under House Bill 900, publishers and booksellers would be required to rate “sexually explicit” books, which would be barred from being sold to school libraries. The bill also requires such books that have already been sold to be “recalled.”

Inside the Secret List of Websites That Make AI Like ChatGPT Sound Smart
The Washington Post
Most tech companies are secretive about what they feed their AI engines. The Washington Post set out to discover “the types of proprietary, personal, and often offensive websites that go into an AI’s training data.”

Scholars Talk Writing: Roxane Gay
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Writer (and Authors Guild council member) Roxane Gay shares some of the best advice she’s ever received, what scholars should know about the publishing industry but probably won’t learn in grad school, what she would do if she were queen of the world, and more.

The Best Book Judy Blume Ever Got as a Gift? ‘Lady Chatterly’s Lover.’
The New York Times
Judy Blume reveals what books are on her nightstand, her favorite book no one else has heard of, how her reading tastes have changed over time, what writers (dead or alive) she would invite to a dinner party, and more.

Writers Are Becoming AI Prompt Engineers, a Job Which May or May Not Exist

Is “ChatGPT whisperer” the new freelance frontier, or just another short-lived fad?

11 Best Books to Read While High
The magazine shares what it describes as one weed influencer’s “crash course in stoner literature, from toking wizards to mind-bending comics.”

Large Trade Publishers See Flat Sales for 2022
Publishers Weekly
Declining profits at Penguin Random House, Lagardère Publishing and HarperCollins are attributed to rising costs and slowing demand. Only Simon & Schuster increased sales in 2022.

Lydia David Refuses to Sell Her Next Book on Amazon
The Guardian
The author will release her next collection of short stories, Our Strangers, only to physical bookshops, and selected online independent retailers.