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Singles Looking to Mingle


Two things to talk about this week.

First: Kindle Singles. No, it's not a club where single (soon-to-be-forever alone-no-longer) book nerds can get together and learn to love new types of literature as well as each other. A Kindle Single is a lone piece of long-form journalism, short story, essay or short memoir that, unattached to a whole book, you can now buy and download to your e-reader at a cost of anywhere between 99¢ and $4.99. This is something I'm really excited about, for a few reasons. First, this has apparently "saved long-form journalism," which I only sort of believe, but am happy about regardless.

 The argument is that journalistic pieces which are too long for magazines, and potentially not right for a book have a hard time getting published because no one can make money off of a work that doesn't fit anywhere. So, with the advent of Kindle Singles, those stories can get published, and make money. While I think that monetary exchange is one of the things that helps news stories to be told accurately (don't get me wrong, the exchange of money can also skew news stories in horrifying ways) by way of putting a leash on the democratic exchange of information the internet allows, it's hard to me to believe that the people writing these pieces wouldn't be doing so if they weren't getting paid, although that's probably really naive, so I'll stop talking about it. Regardless, the people behind TEDtalks have now created TEDbooks, which are available as Kindle Singles, and are totally awesome, making Kindle Singles worth it from the get-go.

Anywho, as you can see from my wish list above, American Juggalo, a piece originally published in issue 12 of n+1 magazine, can be bought for $1.99 and downloaded to your e-reader. This is really fantastic because I don't have issue 12 or n+1, nor do I particularly need it, but I would really like to read that article...which is why it's on my wish list (the Gathering of the Juggalos has been getting a lot of good press lately).

In addition to being totally handy for nerds, the idea of single-serving-chapters, or articles could be really helpful to students and teachers alike. Remember in college when your "cool" professor gave you a reading packet of copied chapters, plays, and essays? Yeah, that was (in most cases) totally illegal. Now you can find many things online, and provide students with links to essays, chapters, and plays (placing the burden of legality and copyright on the person running the site), but hopefully in the coming years you'll be able to just buy pertinent sections from books in Kindle Singles form. Go future, go!

Although, there is one sour point here...these Kindle Singles are only available on Kindle devices, or with the use of Kindle apps, so if they were to be used in classes, a student who had bought a Barnes & Noble Nook would be totally up the creek... Similarly, students who are waiting to see what the Microsoft Courier tablet will be all about could poentially lose out on the wonder of these Singles, too. That's a bummer, and it makes me pretty curious about how the rights will work for these downloadable minis. If anyone has any insight into this, please comment.

Second, have you seen this stupid commercial on Hulu? 

Who DOES have the time? How about ANYONE watching Hulu?

Okay, okay...so, when I was in college I was enrolled full-time, had a full-time job and held and internship at the university press, and it was hard to find time to read, which was an issue because I was a literature major. So, I would download books and listen to them at work (the best was Beloved by Tony Morrison, because she reads it and her voice is like honey, and now all of my internal monologues sound like her). While this invariably saved me a ton of time, I definitely did not absorb the books like a I should have, a fact that reflected in my quiz answers. 

My point is this: listening to books is good, but reading books is better, and while it may be difficult to find the time to read, finding that time is akin to discovering buried treasure. (That was pretty corny, sorry guys.)

You can find Courtney Algeo here, here, and here.

Meet Our Artists: Part II

Meet Our Artists: Part I