The First Year of Reading with My Son

One year ago today, my son Connor was born to parents who didn’t know much about how to raise a child. We were ready to do our best, but we knew these next few years would be full of surprises. We knew we’d make mistakes but we’d learn to trust our instincts.

As I write this, Connor holds his sippy cup in one hand and his favorite book, “The Very Busy Spider,” in the other hand. He flips through the pages, stopping to look at his favorite pictures, then brings the book to me. He sits in my lap and I read the book to him. It’s our new tradition.

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I hope you’re reading this on your phone – I am!

Tablets and phones

About a week ago, when I wanted to try out Amazon’s new bookerly font, I went searching for my Kindle Paperwhite and realized the battery was dead; I hadn’t used it in weeks. Yet in those weeks, I had read several e-books and a plethora of articles – just not on my e-reader. I realized I did most of my reading on my phone.

Am I an outlier? Not according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (“The Rise of Phone Reading” by Jennifer Maloney, @maloneyfiles). Reading on a smartphone is commonplace:

In a Nielsen survey of 2,000 people this past December, about 54% of e-book buyers said they used smartphones to read their books at least some of the time. That’s up from 24% in 2012, according to a separate study commissioned by Nielsen.

The number of people who read primarily on phones has risen to 14% in the first quarter of 2015 from 9% in 2012.

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Are Pen Names Worth It? (Episode 25)

Special note: This is our last episode for 2014, but we’ll be back in January with even better topics, so keep listening! Kevin is taking time off in November and December to figure out fatherhood. He is expecting his first son sometime in November. For now, enjoy the show!

Today, we are talking about pseudonyms. Do writers need them?
Are there ever times when we need to hide behind a pseudonym or publish anonymously? Some writers and artists make their persona part of their style, so certainly a pseudonym can work, but it’s not for everyone.


Show notes:


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).

Writing Like a Cyborg (Episode 24)

In today’s episode, we go where no other writer has gone before: into the great unknown of artificial intelligence. We use tools that augment our lives every day, but as writers, we’ve relied on the same tools for centuries. What if we could automate or offload almost every part of the writing experience – maybe everything except writing itself? What if robots and algorithms took over the drudgery of creating, freeing up our minds for other things?


Show notes:


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).

Episode 23: The Future of Libraries

In today’s show, Jason and Kevin take a close look at the future of the library. Libraries aren’t fusty old buildings with mildewed books any more. Today, they serve as community centers and digital outposts designed to help people get things done and discover new skills. In fact, some libraries are getting in on the maker trend.

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Digitally Composed, Consumed, and Critiqued (Episode 21)

Digital Reading

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.

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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)

Evernote for Reading and Writing (Episode 19)

Notebook Collection

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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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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