First, I want to say that I had SO MUCH FUN at the #ArmchairBEA Twitter party yesterday (last night for me, hah). I usually use Twitter as a series of public Post-it notes, like: "This quote is funny!" or "I just wrote a blog entry!" or "Check out this link!". #ArmchairBEA is my first experience with using Twitter as a realtime conversation tool. It got off to a slow start but then we started talking about the finesse of GoodReads reviews (a 3-star review isn't a bad review) and overhyped books and it was like I had found my people.
Second, I want to say that I picked a great week to have a leg injury. If I can't be out and about too much, then at least I have something to blog about while I'm sitting at home.
(I broke my butt doing yoga—no joke. It's recovering, but slowly, because it's hard to rest, compress, and elevate your butt.)
What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way.
To be honest I don't think of myself as a ~blogger~ because I do it primarily for fun and secondarily as a way to build my jewelry brand. (For those of you who are finding me through #ArmchairBEA: yes, I make jewelry, math jewelry even, but I love books so much I can't NOT blog about them.)
The thing I'd like to do most is redesign the site, and even then not by very much. Maybe switch up the photos in my banner up top (or more accurately, have JV switch them up), and, more importantly, get a slicker, "not-so-obviously-from-Blogger" layout going. But then, to be honest, I read most of my blogs through a reader (first Google reader, then The Old Reader, now Inoreader), so you could have the most beautiful website in the world and it wouldn't make much difference to me anyway. so it's not like I know or care if any of them have very basic layouts.
I am not a big podcast fan—like with audiobooks that I mentioned in yesterday's post, I space out and don't follow the conversation/monologue, no matter what. Right now I'm listening to The History of Rome but I have to set aside time for that, and sit with a notebook and pen to take notes. So why would I start blogging in a format I hate?
Vlogging has the same problems for me as podcasts. The videos I watch tend to be more webseries than actual vlogs, and I might as well take the time now to note a couple I regularly enjoy.
MinutePhysics by Henry Reich is a series of great, well-explained animated answers to sometimes-tough science questions. If there's ever a science question that's had you puzzled, check the archive of videos. Maybe Reich's tackled it already!
Vi Hart has a similar channel with math doodles, though it's mostly focused on pure mathematics (and other things, like net neutrality and 12-tone series). I love the dry sense of humor she uses in every video.
The Tabletop series from Geek and Sundry is a fun way to discover new board games, in addition to just being entertaining to watch.
Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn't get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors?
I typically don't read shorter pieces. I think that's because, as a writer, I always struggled with keeping my short stories short. Brevity is not my strong suit! Likewise, I like to read things that are like what I (sometimes attempt to) write: full-length novels.
Of my own free will I've read maybe one anthology of short fiction in my life (Year's Best SF 16 or something like that), and a handful of Sherlock Holmes stories. Most of the short fiction I've read has been for school, and so the results are hit and miss. Ilse Aichinger's "The Bound Man" is a hit. So is "Children on Their Birthdays," or maybe I just liked it because Truman Capote was an author I actually had heard of. I at least remember Jorge Luis Borges' "The Aleph," though I couldn't say how much I actually liked it. I also had to read a lot from Peter Meinke's Unheard Music collection, but none of them really stood out as shining examples of the genre. Needless to say, my copies of The Art of the Tale, The Art of the Story, and Best American Fiction 2007 stayed in my library after college. Unheard Music did not.
If I stretch all the way back to eighth grade, there's also "Star Food," by Ethan Canin, from his collection, Emperor of the Air.
The one and only anthology of short stories I've really loved and enjoyed, in totality, is the Flight series. Tying in to yesterday's collection, it is a graphic novel collection. Or rather, a graphic short story collection. If you haven't read a Flight anthology, you're missing out.
Edit: I totally lied! I forgot to mention Philip K. Dick! Shame on me, I even wrote on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? for my senior philosophy thesis. But his short stories are masterpieces. I've been meaning to re-read "Minority Report" and "Paycheck" for a while, now. They are excellent stories. The movies.....questionable.
What's your favorite short fiction anthology?