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Best Longform of 2013

2013 had a lot of great longform writing. Longreads and Longform lead the way with their best of lists. Lots of sites provided year end lists: The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Business Week Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast, Dazed Digital, Deadspin, Esquire UK, FlavorwireGawker, Inc., Impose Magazine, Indiewire, i09, Lifehacker, Maclean's, Mashable, Mother Jones, National Geographic, National Journal, The New Yorker, On Earth, Out, Pocket, ReadWrite, Slate, Spin, Sports on Earth, The Electric Typewriter, The Verge, The Voice Media Group, and The Washington Post. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 30, 2013 - 37 comments

Making Excuses for Science Fiction

When I published my first novel 20 years later, I found myself faced with the same challenge: how do I talk about this book to people whose entire conception of science fiction and fantasy are built around Star Wars and The Hobbit? How do I convince folks that stories about the dissolution of a marriage in Montreal in 2155 are just as serious an endeavor as writing about the dis­solution of a marriage in Montreal 1955?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 27, 2013 - 43 comments

A Los Angeles Review of Books essay on Melville by William Giraldi

The Writer As Reader: Melville and his Marginalia In the General Rare Books Collection at Princeton University Library sits a stunning two-volume edition of John Milton that once belonged to Herman Melville. Melville's tremendous debt to Milton — and to Homer, Virgil, the Bible, and Shakespeare — might be evident to anyone who has wrestled with the moral and intellectual complexity that lends Moby Dick its immortal heft, but to see Melville's marginalia in his 1836 Poetical Works of John Milton is to understand just how intimately the author of the great American novel engaged with the author of the greatest poem in English. Checkmarks, underscores, annotations, and Xs reveal the passages in Paradise Lost and other poems that would have such a determining effect on Melville's own work.
posted by jason's_planet on Sep 1, 2013 - 11 comments

Cities and the Soul

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 30, 2012 - 26 comments

Why's This So Good?

Conceived as sort of a companion to Longreads, Longform, Pocket, Byliner, etc., Nieman Storyboard's Why's This So Good? series looks at why some great long-form journalism and narrative nonfiction pieces are so great. There are over 60 installments of writers talking shop about writing. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Nov 26, 2012 - 7 comments

The frantic career of the eyes

Picturing Books: What do we see when we read? (Other than words on a page.) What do we picture in our minds? A consideration by Knopf's senior designer Peter Mendulsund. [more inside]
posted by shakespeherian on Jun 27, 2012 - 22 comments

"Gatsby without greatness"

Roger Ebert has discovered the Macmillan Reader's Edition of The Great Gatsby and he hates it: "This is an obscenity." Macmillan Reader's Editions are geared to ESL students. Ebert thinks that's a really bad idea: "Why not have ESL learners begin with Young Adult novels? Why not write books with a simplified vocabulary? Why eviscerate Fitzgerald?" [more inside]
posted by CCBC on Jul 8, 2011 - 247 comments

Reading (and Typing) in Public

Last August (2009), the "ephemeral artists" of Nothing Happened Here staged a mobile public reading event, meandering around the town of San Luis Obispo, CA with The Reading Chair, and a group of folks reading a variety of stories, poems and tales. The group has planned Typing in Public to take place tomorrow (May 15, 2010), in the same little town. The event is primarily focused on people writing on typewriters around town, but people can also share comments via Twitter, Flickr, or texting the event coordinators. To spark some inspiration, the group has received submissions from a variety of people, including Gerald Casale for Devo, Paul Frommer writing in Na'vi (with translation to English), Dr. James J. Duderstadt, President Emeritus, University Professor of Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, writing on the library as the poster child of the it revolution, and plenty more. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 14, 2010 - 8 comments

...I didn't actually read the link...

It’s only natural that if you wish to present yourself as a well-read person, a certain degree of complete bullshit is required. There’s no shame in lying about what you’ve read. There’s only shame in getting caught. Then you look like a doofus, and an illiterate one at that... How to lie about books.
posted by Artw on May 28, 2009 - 73 comments

Infinite Summer

Infinite Summer - "The Challenge: Read Infinite Jest over the summer of 2009" [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on May 21, 2009 - 118 comments

What are you reading, charming writer?

What are writers reading? An eclectic mix of authors answer the perennial question. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 21, 2009 - 10 comments

free reading, writing and arithmetic resources

EduChoices offers some good free stuff online: 25 Places to Read Free Books Online l 50 Online Writing Websites for New Writers l Ranking of 20 Universities that Offer Free Courses Online (with links to the free courses), as well as information about university courses etc. l Great Reference Sites Other Than Wikipedia l Free Linux Tutorials for Beginners l Useful Online Calculators For Almost Every Educational and Life Need. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Nov 3, 2008 - 7 comments

Moby Dick? Middlemarch? Jane Eyre?

Humiliation: Which book are you most embarrassed to admit that you have never read? Several "respectable" authors answer the question at the Ways With Words festival. (single-link Telegraph post)
posted by fiercecupcake on Jul 28, 2008 - 260 comments

Self-publishing in an Internet Age, or, Web Comics Without the Pictures.

Pages Unbound is a portal for serialized web novels, similar to web comic portals such as Buzz Comix and Top Web Comics, if not nearly as fancy. It is a new project by Tales of MU author Alexandra Erin. Note: Tales of MU and some of the novels found on Pages Unbound may be NSFW, as they contain explicit material of various sorts. MU, specifically, is concerned with LGBT issues and racism in a fantasy setting.
posted by Caduceus on Dec 18, 2007 - 9 comments

Read Print.

Read Print. Online books, poems and short stories.
posted by St Urbain's Horseman on Oct 29, 2007 - 11 comments

New online archive of contemporary British poetry

"Welcome to the Archive of the Now. The Archive of the Now is an online and print repository of recordings, printed texts and manuscripts, focussing on innovative contemporary poetry being written or performed in Britain. It is part of the Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing, at Brunel University in west London, UK. At present, the Archive consists of readings by 65 UK-based poets. This number will continue to grow, and includes newly commissioned, recently acquired and historical recordings."
posted by jayder on Oct 22, 2006 - 5 comments

Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary

Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary
The history of a man who single-handedly invented a new and unique writing system which made the literacy rate of his nation shoot from 0% to 90% in just a few years.

Original source
posted by magullo on Jul 15, 2004 - 4 comments

KidPub

KidPub is an enchanting little website that I rediscovered after rediscovering a list of my circa-1995 bookmarks. (And it looks today almost exactly like it did then -- you can even see a bit of Siegel influence) KidPub is a place for children to post their stories, poems, etc. Most of the authors seem to be in the 9- to 12-year-old age range, and the stories have titles like "The Mystery of the Circus Clown" and "Crazy School". A cute site to remind you of the importance of reading and writing for children.
posted by oissubke on Nov 11, 2002 - 9 comments

enjoy the collected fictions of Kilgore Trout. or alternately, write some yourself.
posted by gravelshoes on Nov 9, 2002 - 17 comments

Tests show U.S. children lag behind

Tests show U.S. children lag behind A careful reading of this page reveals that for many of America's schools, children lag behind some 16 other countries in math and in science. However: not all states contributred data. But the important thing is that a few schools and areas were right up there with the best in the world. Perhaps then we ought to study those that work instead of bashing our educational system in general.
posted by Postroad on Apr 4, 2001 - 18 comments

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