How to Write a Manifesto

Women & Power by Mary Beard is labeled a manifesto, which comes from the Latin word manifestus, meaning "to manifest, to clearly reveal, or to make real." It is a broad term for a public statement of intent, belief, or a call to action issued by an organization or an individual.

Most nonprofit and political groups have a manifesto of some sort which states their purpose – why they exist and what they hope to accomplish. This allows them to frame the organization's goals succinctly, be able to communicate those aims, and recruit others to the cause. These declarations are also meant to inspire, to share a vision and excite others. For this reason, some corporations are ditching their mission statements – which have a dry static connotation – for the more dynamic manifesto form.

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Life Lessons from Twelve Philosophers

Philosophy is the ancient love of wisdom, derived from the Greek word philosophia which means just that. Since the 6th century B.C., profound philosophical thinkers from ancient Greece to present day feminists have laid the foundations for modern thinking. The search for meaning in everyday life has been explored by the likes of Socrates, Descartes, and so many others whose names are easily recognized but whose foundational ideas might be more difficult to grasp.

Happily, the auction site Invaluable has created an easily digestible infographic that summarizes the guiding principles of these great philosophers--from Confucius to Simone de Beauvoir.

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The 10 Essential Elements of a Gothic Novel

In the spirit of Halloween, we highlight the Gothic genre. Gothic literature emerged as one of the most chilling forms of Dark Romanticism in the late 1700s, and has since captivated readers with terrifying, mysterious narratives. Evident in the works of great Gothic writers such as Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, the Bronte sisters, and many more, Gothic stories feature distinctive elements that make the genre so unique.

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Banned Books in the USA - Infographic

September 23rd is the start of Banned Books Week, an annual awareness campaign promoted by the American Library Association and Amnesty International that celebrates the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books and highlights persecuted individuals. Last year's top ten banned titles consisted mainly of titles written for children and teens that address sex and gender, and two adult titles read in schools: The Kite Runner and To Kill a Mockingbird.

In honor of Banned Books Week, here's part of an interesting infographic of the top banned books in different genres, the reasons why they've been banned in the past, and interesting facts and stats. You can see the full infographic at Invaluable.

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Creative Writing & Storytelling for the Family

Podcasts: Creative Writing & Storytelling for the FamilyThere is a lot of debate as to whether creative writing can be taught or not. Clearly a lot of people think it can be given the growth in creative writing courses. As with most interesting arguments, the truth is probably to be found somewhere in the middle, in that gray area between a polarizing 'yes' or 'no'. Certain elements like voice probably can't be 'taught' as such but they can be refined, given enough time, and the same goes for other aspects of storytelling. In which case, it would seem to make sense to give aspiring writers the fundamental tools they need so that they can learn to use them effectively to improve their writing craft.

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Do readers have an obligation to history to read "difficult" books?

I was recently participating in BookBrowse's online book discussion for Vaddey Ratner's excellent novel, Music of the Ghosts, in which the main characters are survivors of the Khmer Rouge. Needless to say, since it discusses the horrors Cambodian citizens endured during the genocide, it contains some pretty intense passages, and one of my fellow posters mentioned finding the subject matter "difficult" and therefore hard to read about. This comment prompted an offline discussion with others regarding books that cover topics that we generally don't want to dwell on, specifically humanity's ability to be unimaginably cruel to others or indifferent to their suffering.  The question arose: As readers, do we have an obligation to history to read "difficult" books?

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