Notebook Collection

Evernote for Reading and Writing (Episode 19)

How do you organize your reading life? Today, we’re talking about how to use Evernote for writing and organization. Both Jason and Kevin use Evernote to write notes, keep lists, organize daily writing, and keep track of our digital books. You can even use evernote to organize your ebook reading notes as well.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Jeremy Mates [creative commons]

What’s a MOOC Got to do with It? (Episode 18)

Today, Jason and Kevin talk about MOOCs. You might be wondering: What’s a MOOC? I can assure you it’s not a horned animal from Middle Earth, nor is it something Sarah Palin shoots from helicopters. MOOCs are massive, open online courses. They give some promise to our higher education system in need of reform. But MOOCs aren’t perfect, and they certainly won’t replace traditional higher education anytime soon.

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Kindle Unlimited and What it Means to Readers and Writers (Episode 17)

In this Critical Margins podcast, Jason and Kevin analyze how services like Kindle Unlimited might change how we read. Or will they? Are Kindle Unlimited, Oyster, and Scribd hyped up too much?

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Interview With Mike Chasar, Author of “Everyday Reading”

Whatever happened to poetry? Why don’t most of us read it anymore? Can you name three prominent poets? In his book, Everyday Reading: Poetry and Popular Culture in Modern America, Mike Chasar chronicles a time not so very long ago (the first half of the 20th century) when average people consumed, created and cared about poetry. I asked Mr. Chasar for an interview and this is the result.  Continue reading

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Episode 16: Models for a Publishing Future?

In this week’s Critical Margins Podcast, Jason and Kevin discuss models worth following in the future of publishing and the myths that come along with digital publishing. Do we all need to act like we’re publishers in order to succeed? Over at Litragger.com, author Adam Lefton wrote an article titled, “5 Myths About the New Era of Publishing.” Lefton brings up some excellent points about the future of publishing we’d like to discuss today.

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Interview with Deven M. Patel, Author of “Text to Tradition”

The question of what constitutes a classic work of literature is often restricted to primarily Western works. Ditto the matter of what constitutes a readership. In his book Text to Tradition: The Naisadhīyacarita and Literary Community in South Asia, Deven M. Patel addresses these fascinating questions. I asked him for an interview and this is the result. Continue reading

Chaucer book

Episode 15: The Sacred and Profane: Reading Naughty Words in Books

Today, Jason and Kevin look at profanity in books. Do bad words turn you off? Will you keep reading if a book is laced with profanity? And, does profanity matter when reading a book, especially if that book serves a purpose or holds an important place in your life?

A lot of readers dislike profanity in books. But we’re wary of censorship, especially in literature. So-called bad words can often have an enlightening effect on what we read. and profanity in literature has existed for millenia: just go read some chaucer for some examples.

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"Reading alone" (Photo credit:

Episode 14 – The Unwashed Reviews

Literary critics have lorded over the pages of elite magazines for centuries, and in the twentieth century, magazines like the New Yorker and The Atlantic have helped make and break potential new books. But now, we’re in the 21st century. People find books through social media recommendations and user ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. Book review publications have gone belly up or have downsized.

Today, Jason and I look critically at the critics. What can they offer us today, if anything? Do we really rely on professional critics to help us choose what to read?

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Book Marketing

Episode 13: How To Find a Place on the Shelf

All writers have idols, but it’s important to remember that those idols are just human beings. Is it a good move for writers and readers to take their idols off the pedestal and to examine their flaws? What if we try to write better than our idols?

In this show, we explore how to find a place on the shelf. We discuss why it’s important to not idolize our favorite writers, but to instead examine them closely and figure out their best moves.

Show notes:

We want to hear from you! If you like the podcast, rate us on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you listen to us. Or leave us a comment in the show notes.

Special thanks to Jason and the Beast for our show’s theme song, “Street Preacher.”

Moby Dick

Interview with Gavin Jones, Author of “Failure and the American Writer”

“What a loser.” Ouch. Not something we would ever want said of ourselves. Americans do not look kindly on failure or failures. What role have they played in American literary history? Which characters in American classic novels would you categorize as failures? How many American writers thought of themselves as failures or thought long and hard about failure? These are the kinds of questions Gavin Jones addresses in his book, Failure and the American Writer: A Literary History. I was intrigued by the title and asked Mr. Jones for an interview. He graciously agreed, and this is the result.  Continue reading