IT’S BEEN hard getting books in Patagonia. English selections in local bookstores are weak (although I did find 5 Major Plays by Chekhov).
Over the past month though I’ve made this progression. I’ve ‘crossed a line.’
Before I never used to take the computer into bed. Something about working on that mofo all day and then bringing it into bed and falling asleep with it on your chest just seems anti-life or something.
But whatever. I need to read to fall asleep. I’ve gotten used to it now. It works pretty much the same as paper.
Once you ‘get here’ it opens up everything as far as reading. (I realize of course everyone with a kindle or ipad or whatever is ‘already here’ but I just can’t afford and don’t want to buy more shit.)
The first real site I’ve gotten to love is ReadPrint.com. It’s free and has a good layout and plenty of Dostoevsky and Joyce and Chekhov and Cather and most of the classics.
The one catch is that they don’t have any books you’d consider modern classics (Camus, Sartre, Carver, or even Baudelaire). It’s all from 100 years ago or more.
Still, there are quotes from nearly every major author you can think of, past and present. In that way it’s a major resource.
I’ve been getting into fiftytwostories. It’s a site from Harper Perennial that publishes one free story each week. I was led to this site because they published the story “Tennessee” from Justin Taylor’s new book Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever.
Fiction and Nonfiction
I realize most of the reading I’ve listed so far is fiction. There’s a reason for this: I like most fiction better than I do most nonfiction.
What I seem to be attracted to most of all though is work that’s at the intersection of fiction and nonfiction. Most of Hunter S. Thompson’s books, for example. Kerouac. Bukowski.
A recent article at Utne talks about how this intersection of fiction and nonfiction is progressing, citing Dave Eggers and others. A good read.
Like poetry, personal journals seem to be outside of fiction and nonfiction somehow. Sometimes I feel like writing never intended for publication is more transparent than anything else.
Only thing is, they seem to read as if they were intended for publication–more like essays than actual journal pages.
2 Tools for Writers / Bloggers
I installed and started using apture on my blog. It’s sweet. Basically any word(s) you want to link to–you plug that into a quick search–and then apture automatically searches dozens of different sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, and others for relevant links which you can either choose to link to or embed in your post. What’s really cool though is that even if you just link them, the link comes up in a mini-preview screen so that the reader doesn’t actually leave your blog. For an example, check my blog here and then click on any of the links. Really simple.
Another tool that I’m just starting to use is compfight. It’s basically a faster way to swoop Creative Commons images than going through Flickr or GoogleCommons. I used it to get the feature image for this post.
Using Where You Live to Advance Your Writing Career
Julie Schwietert wrote a really transparent piece about how where you live as the starting point for your writing. Great advice in there.
Have a great week everyone, and please hit me up with any Monday Mashup links or sites you’re feeling and which might be worth recommending to other travelers, writers, and bloggers. Bigup.