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Summer Stories

NPR Unveils ‘Book Your Trip: Because Reading Is About The Journey’ Summer Reading Lists

nprOn the hunt for a good book to take to the beach? NPR assembled a group of writers, librarians, and book critics to create 12 summer reading lists.

The team established a theme called “Book Your Trip: Because Reading Is About The Journey.” Books were categorized depending on how well the stories fit the different modes of transportation: train, plane, car, bike, boat, foot, city transit, horse, balloon, rocketship, time, dragons, drugs, and giant peaches. Bibliophiles can help to add on to these lists by sharing titles on social media with the hashtag #bookyourtrip.

Here’s more from NPR‘s “Morning Edition” introductory story: “Our favorite thing about these lists is the surprising and funny combinations you get when you decide to look at a very specific slice of something. We love that Anna Karenina and The Little Engine That Could are side by side. On the car list, you’ll find Go, Dog. Go! and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And — perhaps for the first time ever — Che Guevara and Beverly Cleary are hanging out together with The Motorcycle Diaries and The Mouse and the Motorcycle.” What do you think?

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Can Grammar Cops Be Good Writers?

 

Novelist Sherman Alexie generated hundreds of tweets, puns, grammar jokes and arguments with the simple Twitter post embedded above: “Grammar cops are rarely good writers. Imagination always disobeys,” he wrote.

Does an obsession for grammar make you a lesser writer? As regular GalleyCat readers know, I still make plenty of grammar errors in my own writing–so I don’t feel like I can make an unbiased judgment.

Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite responses in a single Storify post.

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100 Classic Free Books for Your End of Summer Reading

Web developer Christopher Pound mounted a data mining expedition deep into the free book lists at Project Gutenberg, creating a list of the 100 most popular books by 100 different authors on the site.

The top books list on Project Gutenberg is usually dominated by popular writers with more than one book, but this list creates a different kind of spread. We’ve linked to the top five books below for your weekend reading pleasure. Follow this link to explore the complete list:

As a follow-up to messing around with Goodreads and Project Gutenberg last week, I wondered what the top 100 list would look like with no duplicate authors, so I generated the list below, removing works by authors who have work higher on the list. What I like about the result is how dense it is with different themes, concerns, styles, etc. It’s an intriguing condensation of Project Gutenberg’s fiction collection and perhaps a better reading list for absorbing common literary reference points among works available in English.

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How Many Books Have You Read From a 1907 High School Reading List?

Renaissance Learning has released its fifth edition of the What Kids Are Reading report. Among the many topics covered in the free report, it compared high school reading across the last century.

Below, we’ve linked to free eBook copies of the most popular books in 1907, 1923 and 1964. The complete report noted “a decline over time in the complexity of required texts for high school students.” Follow this link for an infographic summary of the research. Here’s more from the report:

Although our analysis is restricted to the  period of 1907 to 2012, there is evidence that writing has become less complex over the last several hundred  years. Complexity is impacted in part by average sentence length; books with longer sentences tend to be more  difficult to comprehend than books with shorter sentences … it is worth noting that just because the books students are being assigned to read are less complex than in  prior years, this does not necessarily mean that they cannot read or comprehend books at higher levels, nor can  we assume that assigning more complex texts would necessarily lead to improvements in achievement.

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How One Author Used Public Domain Images To Create a Book Cover

Exploring the public domain Kunstformen der Natur, writer Casey Dexter turned a gorgeous 1904 illustration into part of an eye-catching book cover.

If you are looking for public domain images for your next book cover, we’ve created a list of free resources below. In a Reddit post, Dexter explained how he used the free Microsoft Paint and Pixlr to create the complete cover. Check it out:

I should also give credit to Ernst Haeckel, whose beautiful Kunstformen der Natur is in the public domain … the large text is in century gothic and my name is in century. I don’t know if they’re actually related in any way, but the title was a challenge because of the two big Os – it’s hard to get a default font that kerns properly with vowels like that, and century gothic seemed like one of the best. Century just happened to fit in well with the illustration, I thought. Maybe I’ll eventually get to go at it in Photoshop or something, all the text was done in MS Paint because for some reason there’s a really small text size limit on pixlr.

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Explore the Manuscript Wish Lists of Countless Literary Agents

Hundreds of agents, editors and publishers have shared their manuscript wish lists on Twitter this summer, using the popular MSWL hashtag.

Below, we’ve created a Storify post linking to many of the posts from the hashtag–they are arranged in a massive list, in no particular order. The list is perfect if you are looking for a literary agent or some literary inspiration.

Welcome to our Top Stories of Summer 2013 series. For all our readers returning from trips and vacation reading, we’ve created a short list of the stories you may have missed during this long, strange summer for the publishing industry.

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38% of Readers Will Finish a Book No Matter What

When do you stop reading a book? I have no shame in admitting that I will stop reading a book after a few pages. Life is too short to read a book you don’t enjoy.

Goodreads has created a great infographic exploring the books most often abandoned by readers on the social network–a whopping 38 percent of readers refuse to stop reading, even if they don’t like a book! The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling topped that list, followed by Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. The complete chart follows below…

Welcome to our Top Stories of Summer 2013 series. For all our readers returning from trips and vacation reading, we’ve created a short list of the stories you may have missed during this long, strange summer for the publishing industry.

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Moleskine Postal Notebooks Combine Writing Book & Letter

Looking for a way to rekindle your letter writing impulse? Maybe you should take Moleskine’s Postal Notebooks on your next trip.

These mini-notebooks contain eight pages plain paper you can fill as you travel, mailing the notebook like a letter when you fill it up with stories. They are available different sizes and colors. Check it out:

For the first time, envelope and card become one, with plenty of space inside for your creativity. Send your thoughts on a journey, choose a destination for your words. A notebook that transforms into an envelope with handy lines for the recipient’s address.

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23 Literary Agent Query Letters That Worked

Once you find an agent you would like to represent your book, the pitch letter is the next step in the traditional publishing process.

Below, we’ve collected 23 different agent pitch letters that actually worked in a variety of genres. We’ve gathered these samples from agency websites, agent blogs and the AgentQuery forums. No matter what kind of novel you have written, they can help you craft a better query letter.

Welcome to our Top Stories of Summer 2013 series. For all our readers returning from trips and vacation reading, we’ve created a short list of the stories you may have missed during this long, strange summer for the publishing industry.

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15 Places to Promote Your Book for Free

Looking for places to share your brand new book?

Thanks to the Kindle Boards, we discovered 15 places where self-published authors can promote their work for free. We’ve collected more information about the sites in a simple directory below, linking to the submission pages for these eBook sites.

Welcome to our Top Stories of Summer 2013 series. For all our readers returning from trips and vacation reading, we’ve created a short list of the stories you may have missed during this long, strange summer for the publishing industry.

Read more

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