Weekend Reads

Welcome to the independent writer’s life. Put up your short story collection at the beginning of the week, get pounded by malicious code injections the rest of the week.

To help keep your own chin high and lip stiff, I offer herewith a helping of distractions and items of interest that could very well make or break your ability to ever again confront the horrifying solitude of the keyboard. Drink up.

  • FINALLY: The Difference between Nerd, Dork, and Geek Explained by a Venn Diagram

    Found this via a tweet by Levi Montgomery. Easily one of the Top 5 most useful bits of information ever posted on Twitter.

    You laugh. I’m serious. Who can keep these things straight?

  • How To Correctly Pronounce Authors’ Names

    Another absurdly useful post. Bookmark it, or print it out for study in the library. (Make flashcards if you’re serious about name-dropping and party chatter.)

    On the platform subject, does it help or hurt an author to have an indecipherable name? Does it make people less likely to reference you, or does it make them more likely to talk about you, if only relative to the difficulty of pronunciation?

  • Esquire Mag’s List of 75 Books Every Man Should Read

    A pretty good list. (You know it’s a pretty good list — particularly given the New York sourcing — because Grapes of Wrath makes the Top 10, as it should.)

    The whole Esquire/Man thing has jumped the shark, reducing the magazine to self-parody, but most of the books on this list are deserving — and not just of men. There’s the usual b-side pick (Fitzgeralds’ The Crack-Up) here and there because the a-side title (The Great Gatsby) is simply too well known, but that’s to be expected given the trendiness of the source. So ignore the source and dig into the list. You’ll like.

  • Literary T-shirts: a spring roundup

    A confession of sorts here. A lot of people think a writer has only really made it when one of that writer’s titles is turned into a Hollywood film. Personally, I’ll feel like I made it when one of my titles is turned into a t-shirt.

  • The Story of Bottled Water

    I’m not a trendy person. In fact, I’m an anti-trendy person. And I’m particularly anti-trendy relative to fake trends promulgated by people with a profit motive.

    Which is to say in this case that I never started buying bottles of water. I don’t need a bottle of water with me at all times, I don’t need to hold a bottle of water in order to feel culturally relevant, I don’t know and don’t care about the relative caste hierarchy of bottled-water brands, and I’m brazenly smug about all of this.

    Click the link. Join the anti-trend. Be smug.

  • Here’s a legal way to print money: change the font

    There are some trade-offs that have to be computed here, but the idea is an interesting one. A savvy writer could easily save a significant amount of money that she doesn’t otherwise have by making a few smart printing choices — particularly when printing out drafts. (If an ink-miserly font creates more pages, a smaller size of that font would shrink the overall length of the document, and offer additional ink savings.)

    Update: a kill joy debunks the idea.


    Before you click the link, take a moment to get in touch with your own beliefs about the publishing industry, about the whole book-selling thang, and about what it means to be an author. You won’t be disappointed (in yourself).

    Favorite quote:

    Admission to the discussion is free with purchase of books.

    Now that’s a business model.

Talking about publishing is like talking about any other massive subject. It’s the details that matter.

What are your details? What part of the publishing paradigm matters to you? If you care about words or stories, that’s something entirely different than caring about your own celebrity. And I mean entirely.

— Mark Barrett

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  1. says

    My wife worked in cosmetics for years. That industry invented the Gift with Purchase. It is a brilliant business model, because both sides of the transaction know immediately what the other side is getting.

  2. says

    Yeah, Levi, but what rhymes with tap? (hint: it goes down the drain, too) I don’t drink a lot of bottled water, but I don’t trust the muni supply all that much either. Filters=mandatory. Mark, that Esquire list really is good, but I would’ve put The Things They Carried a lot higher up, like 1, 2, and 3. It’s that good, especially if you’re a writer.

  3. says

    I have one of these tough to pronounce names and i do wonder about that. You’d think it would help an author stand out but i can only picture name butcherings in the aisles of a Barnes and Nobles.

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