Bookmarked 50 Great Classic Novels Under 200 Pages (Literary Hub)

We are now past the mid-way point in February, which is technically the shortest month, but is also the one that—for me, anyway—feels the longest. Especially this year, for all of the reasons that you already know. At this point, if you keep monthly reading goals, even vague ones, you may be looking for few a good, short novels to knock out in an afternoon or two. Last year, I wrote about the best contemporary novels under 200 pages, so now I must turn my attention to my favorite short classics—which represent the quickest and cheapest way, I can tell you in my salesman voice, to become “well-read.”

Emily Temple follows up her list of 50 short contemporary novels with a focus on class novels.
Liked David Epstein’s Range – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

One way you know if a book is any good is if you are still thinking about it a year after you read it. (Or five years, or a decade, etc. The longer you think about a book the better you know it is.) Another way to know if a book is good is if it seems like every week you read an article that could be a supplementary chapter.

Bookmarked Why Do We Keep Reading The Great Gatsby? (The Paris Review)

‘The Great Gatsby’ is not a book about people, per se. Secretly, it’s a novel of ideas.

In an introduction to the Modern Library edition of The Great Gatsby, Wesley Morris explores the lasting legacy of the novel. Morris argues that it is the sort of novel that you can appreciate without having been there. Instead it is a novel which dives into the world of identity and mystery, a story with so many gaps that it entices us to reread to check. This is best captured in one sitting.

In one day, you can sit with the brutal awfulness of nearly every person in this book—booooo, Jordan; just boo. And Mr. Wolfsheim, shame on you, sir; Gatsby was your friend. In a day, you no longer have to wonder whether Daisy loved Gatsby back or whether “love” aptly describes what Gatsby felt in the first place. After all, The Great Gatsby is a classic of illusions and delusions. In a day, you reach those closing words about the boats, the current, and the past, and rather than allow them to haunt, you simply return to the first page and start all over again.

Sarah Churchwell, Philip McGowan, William Blazek and Melvyn Bragg talk about The Great Gatsby on the In Our Time podcast. They discuss Fitzgerald’s legacy and how it came to be so important within the American literacy canon.

For an audio version of the book, the team at NPR’s Planet Money have done a reading after the book was added to the Public Domain:

“Cory Doctorow” in Pluralistic: 18 Jan 2021 – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow ()

Replied to

My vote for an inspiring book would be Annabel Crabb’s The Wife Drought. Maybe not a ‘pedagogical’ book, but definitely thought provoking in regards to how education and schools work.
Bookmarked Free Resources on MUSE During COVID-19 (about.muse.jhu.edu)

In response to the challenges created by the global public health crisis of COVID-19, Project MUSE is pleased to support its participating publishers in making scholarly content temporarily available for free on our platform. With many higher education institutions moving into an exclusively online learning environment for the foreseeable future, we hope that easy access to vetted research in the humanities and social sciences, from a variety of distinguished university presses, societies, and related not-for-profit publishers, will help to support teaching, learning, and knowledge discovery for users worldwide.

In response to the current crisis, Project Muse are providing free access to a range of publishers for a limited time. A list of the books can be found here, while a list of journals can be here.

via Public Books

Liked Lockdown reading list by Doug Belshaw (discours.es)
Listened Author’s Note from Attack Surface | Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com by Cory Doctorow | Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com from craphound.com

My latest podcast is a reading of the author’s note from “Attack Surface” — the third Little Brother book, which comes out on Oct 12. I recorded this for the audiobook edition of Attack Suface, which I’ve been recording all last week with Amber Benson and the Cassandra de Cuir from Skyboat Media. If you like what you hear, please consider pre-ordering the book — it’s a scary time to have a book in the production pipeline!

Cory I have been really enjoying your podcasts lately. One thing that I had not considered was the impact that the current crisis would have for writers. Inspired I purchased Radicalised, having picked up bits and pieces here and there. I was interested though in how best to pre-purchase your next novel. Personally, I prefer to read digitally, is there any means of pre-purchasing the digital versions of Attack Surface, as well as the re-releases on Craphound? I remember Austin Kleon talking about the impact of pre-purchases on sales, do purchases need to be through a bookseller?
Bookmarked Smorgasbords Don’t Have Bottoms (n+1)

No one wakes up in the morning hoping to be as vapid as possible. But eventually you internalize the squeeze. Everyone down the chain adjusts their individual decisions to the whim of the retailer, or to their best guess at the whim of the retailer. If it’s Barnes & Noble, you may hear that a cover doesn’t work, that the store won’t carry the title unless you change it. If it’s Amazon, you may not hear anything at all. You go back and adjust your list of wildly optimistic comparative titles — it’s The Big Short, but . . . for meteorology!

The editors at N+One discuss the current process associated with publishing in the 2010’s and the place of Amazon within all of this.
Liked How to read ebooks purchased from Kobo on a Kindle by Jeremy Felt (jeremyfelt.com)

Download and install Adobe Digital Editions.
Download and install Calibre, an open source ebook manager.
Download and extract the latest ZIP release of DeDRM_tools.
Open Calibre, open its preferences, and navigate to “Plugin” under “Advanced.
Use “Load plugin from file” to add the obok_plugin.zip file from its respective directory in the extracted DeDRM folder.
Use “Load plugin from file” to add the DeDRM_plugin.zip file from its respective directory in the extracted DeDRM folder.
Restart Calibre before loading any books.

Replied to The ebook revolution that didn’t happen by Bill BennettBill Bennett (billbennett.co.nz)

If ebooks were priced appropriately, they’d sell, it’s that simple. Almost everyone carries a device which could act as an ebook reader. They could do better.

I understand the argument against eBooks Bill, that we remember more when we read in print and that the experience is better. However, the hidden benefit to eBooks is in regards to accessibility. I often ‘listen‘ to Kindle eBooks using the accessibility functions on an old iPhone or using Google Books on my Android phone.

In regards to publishing, I think that Verso Books has it right when they often offer substantial savings for eBooks as well as free eBooks for physical purchases. They also allow users full access to the text to load to whatever platform they choose.

This all reminds me of Craig Mod’s piece arguing that the future book is here, it just wasn’t what we expected.

Replied to The cult books that lost their cool (bbc.com)

From the self-indulgent to the tiresomely macho, Hephzibah Anderson chooses her picks of previously hip books that have not aged well.

Although no longer ‘cool’, I sometimes think a book like A Catcher in the Rye become uncanny. Although from another time when the world was different, there are still aspects that prevail today?
Bookmarked The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected by Craig Mod (WIRED)

Visionaries thought technology would change books. Instead, it’s changed everything about publishing a book.

Craig Mod reflects on ‘books’ and the way in which they have and haven’t evolved overtime. He discusses the hype around interactivity that has never quite come to fruition. Tim Carmody argues that the idea of a networked collection of texts.

Marginalia

We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice. Instead, technology changed everything that enables a book, fomenting a quiet revolution. Funding, printing, fulfillment, community-building—everything leading up to and supporting a book has shifted meaningfully, even if the containers haven’t. Perhaps the form and interactivity of what we consider a “standard book” will change in the future, as screens become as cheap and durable as paper. But the books made today, held in our hands, digital or print, are Future Books, unfuturistic and inert may they seem.

To publish a digital book today, you still need the words, but you can skip many of the other steps. From a Pages or Microsoft Word document you can export an .epub file—the open standard for digital books. Open an Amazon and iBooks account, upload the file, and suddenly you’re accessing 92 percent of the digital book market.

Social media, however, is not predictable. Algorithms and product functionality have all the stability of rolling magma as companies refine how they engage, and extract value from, users. This means an investment in social media can go belly up in a few years. Take author Teju Cole, for example. His use of Twitter was both delicate and brilliant. He amassed a quarter of a million followers before unceremoniously dropping the service in 2014, perhaps feeling the growing invective so characteristic of the platform today. He then consolidated his promotional social media activity around Facebook. Today, he says, “My main experience of Facebook is that I have no idea who sees what. I allegedly have 29,000 people following the page. I doubt that more than a few hundred of them are ever shown what I post.” Of course, Facebook gently suggests that page owners can reach their full audience by paying for promotion. Considering the shift in demographics of Facebook usage, who knows if his audience is even checking their timelines, and would see the posts if he paid.By contrast, there’s something almost ahistorical about email, existing outside the normal flow of technological progress. It works and has worked, reliably, for decades. There’s no central email authority. Most bookish people use it. Today I’m convinced you could skip a website, Facebook page, or Twitter account, and launch a publishing company on email alone.

It turns out smartphones aren’t the best digital book reading devices (too many seductions, real-time travesties, notifications just behind the words), but they make excellent audiobook players, stowed away in pockets while commuting. Top-tier podcasts like Serial, S-Town, and Homecoming have normalized listening to audio or (nonfiction) booklike productions on smartphones.

Our Future Book is composed of email, tweets, YouTube videos, mailing lists, crowdfunding campaigns, PDF to .mobi converters, Amazon warehouses, and a surge of hyper-affordable offset printers in places like Hong Kong.

Replied to |k| clippings: 2018-10-21 — the heart nose by Chris Lott (katexic.com)

I’m not surprised by the top three. Are you? → Exclusive: Data Reveals … The Books We Most Often Try To Read But Secretly Give Up On

Interested in the mention of Pride and Prejudice. I remember avoiding Austen for much of my Bachelor of Arts, until I came to my senses and took a class with John Wiltshire which involved reading all her novels.

I feel that their is a bit of myth and (mis)judgement around Austen’s work. One of the best things I did, although I would rather reread Mansfield Park or Emma than Pride and Prejudice.

On another text, I started reading Game of Thrones. Then I watched the show and gave up going back.

Bookmarked 5 thoughts on self-help (austinkleon.com)

The joy and luck, for me, of writing my books, is that I’ve stumbled my way into a form (specifically: the illustrated gift book) that is not only commercial and popular, but also allows me to be as weird and as visual as I want to be. (I really do think of the books as fancy zines.) If they are shelved in self-help, so be it!

All books are, in a sense, self-help: you help yourself to them.

Austin Kleon shares a handful of thoughts about the self-help genre. This includes being sceptical of the genre, the association with individualism, often such books are accidents and advice is autobiographical. This reminds me in part of the idea of bibliotherapy.