In today’s show, we explore the promise of digital marginalia. Remember when you were a kid and teachers told you not to mark up your textbooks? And then you got to college, and teachers told you you had to mark up your books? There’s something about writing in the margins of a book that either scares readers away or excites them. If you’re a regular Critical Margins reader, you know I love marking up books and see a lot of promise in digital margin notes, but we have a long way to go.
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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.
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?
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.