Top five places for a bookish fix – The Telegraph

In Literature Reviews, Newspaper Contributions on December 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Too busy to read a novel from cover to cover? Try these places instead.

Literature on the move

Literature on the move

Poems on the Underground

Even rush-hour can be a time for literary enlightenment. Poems on the Underground, the programme that aims to bring poetry to a wider audience by displays on advertising boards on the London Tube, recently released its latest anthology. To celebrate, they unveiled three thousand posters of six new poems, which will remain on the Tube for the next few weeks.

The new anthology arranges its poems according to central themes used since the programme was launched in 1986: love, seasons, war, exile and loss, music and the natural world.

Its founder Judith Chernaik says: “since the poems tend to come as a surprise, people on the Tube don’t get bored with them. Even if they are few and far between, a huge number of people get to see them”.

Espresso stories

For fans of Twitter, Espresso Stories offers its readers and writers a shot of very short stories: each one must consist of 25 words or fewer.

In Brief Oddities (Espresso Stories’ most popular choice of categories), an example of such a literary hit is The Worst Imaginable Pain In the World by Mick Theebs: “The natural predator of the pinky toe is the leg of a coffee table.”

Other niche genres include: “New York Love”, “Hunter S Thompson in Shorts”, “Minor Introspections” and “Hemingway in earnest”.

While being as concise as possible, the website does not sacrifice quality. With hundreds of thousands of contributions, it provides perfect reading material for a quick coffee break.

Six Word Stories

A more succinct version of Espresso Stories, Six Word Stories is inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous challenge, to write a complete short short story in just six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

The website has a variety of genres to which writers can submit stories. They range from the poignant: “Loved her enough to pretend otherwise”, to the funny: “Come hither look? No, it’s gas.” Hundreds of stories can be created and consumed on a single bus journey.

Bookshelf Porn

The photoblog Bookshelf Porn has recently been selected by Time magazine as one of the 25 best blogs of 2012, proving that in a world increasingly filled with ebooks, people still appreciate a book cover or an eccentric bookshop. Booklovers around the world submit beautiful photographs and videos of their favourite bookshelves, shops, libraries, pages, art and general book paraphernalia to the blog. The result is a startling collection of original displays tenderly curated by Anthony Dever, the website’s creator. The blog showcases book fetishism at its most creative.

Twitter literature

Hailed by some as a “new literary practice”, others are more sceptical about the merits of “tweeting” stories and literary reviews, particularly as users only have 140 characters in which to do so. Over the years, a variety of literary innovations have appeared on the social networking phenomenon. From shortening the synopsis of a novel to a single “tweet”, (with sometimes hilarious results), to Twitter’s first fiction festival held this year, it would appear that there are some people who are determined to infiltrate even social networking sites with all things literary. Even Jennifer Egan’s short story Black Box was tweeted an hour at a time via the New Yorker’s Twitter account for ten nights earlier this year, with mixed reactions.

  1. Bookshelfporn claims a new follower…

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