The Late Bloomers (Episode 22)

What happens if you peak late in life? Today, we’re talking about those late bloomers, the writers and innovators who gain notoreity after years of hard work. Did you know Charles Bukowski wasn’t published until he was 51, or that Walt Whitman self-published the first edition of Leaves of Grass at 36? Today, we seem obsessed with young genius, but we still see cases of people publishing and gaining success later in life.

Continue reading

Digital Reading

Digitally Composed, Consumed, and Critiqued (Episode 21)

We live in a digital world, and that means writers need to develop their readership online. Luckily, the tools available to do that continue to improve.

Wattpad is one of those writerly tools, and fan fiction one of the ways writers find an audience. Today, Jason and Kevin talk about how to be digitally composed, consumed, and critiqued. We look at the phenomenon that is fan fiction. Remixing and revisiting popular works has existed for centuries: look at what Shakespeare did with his source material or today, what Disney does with old fairy tales. But fan fiction is very popular online, and even amazon gets into the whole fanfic game.

Continue reading


Writing in the Margins (Episode 20)

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.

We’d love to hear from you! If you enjoy our show, rate us on iTunes or Stitcher and get the word out. Leave a comment or contact us on Twitter: Kevin (@criticalmargins) or Jason (@jasonanthebeast).

Page 72 of the Aemilianensis 60 codex. The glo...
Page 72 of the Aemilianensis 60 codex. The gloss in the bottom right-hand margin of the page is the most extensive one in the codex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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


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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading