Volume 1

A few months ago I wrote about my own publishing house and how much fun I was having. Even more recently I mentioned that I wanted to branch out by creating digital photo zines. After jumping on a Black Friday deal, I finally decided on Affinity Publisher over Adobe InDesign.

It didn’t take long to work out the basics of the software app, so I combined some images and text, hit “publish”, converted to the PDF format and done. I then uploaded it to Apple Books for easier, more enjoyable reading. Assuming there are any interested parties, the download link is a .pdf. Enjoy!

Now I need to do a deep dive on how to produce a proper zine.

Microfiction

Long-form writing is becoming a lost art during these days of short attention spans. With all the media content available to us, our time feels limited, so we want to maximize our consumption time. Blogs have been taken over in favor of quick social media posts. Twitter limits a tweet to 140 characters. Tik-Tok and Instagram promote short video clips, etc.

Microfiction is the natural progression of all this. It is considered to be even shorter than the short story genre. Much like a haiku, it forces concise wording to tell a story. There is no set word limit, but the general guideline is 100-101 words to tell your story. The trick is to make it meaningful enough to make an impact, as opposed to having your reader hop on to the next nano story.

How to start: Come up with an idea, create a rough draft, check your work count and revise to fit. Ulysses writing app is brilliant for this.

Where to publish: On your website first, of course. Then, save your work as a PDF and distribute to your interested followers, either for free or fee. Thereafter, use the same social media platforms if you must. There are even publishing houses looking for microfiction authors.

Finally: Microfiction is a tiny sub-genre (see what I did there?) in the writing/reading world. You won’t earn a lot of money from it, but the challenge itself can be very rewarding.

Book Track

In an effort to keep my library and current reads organized, I purchased Book Track. It is a simple but gorgeous app that is easy to use. Just take a picture of the ISBN barcode on your book and it does the rest. You can mark the progress of your reading, create a wish list and more. My collection and reading progress is not up to date but I hope to change this soon. Eventually I’ll get to the point where my Library page and this app will be in sync. In the future, I’m considering doing book reviews with notes that I have added.

Less Books, More Reading

A few days ago I mentioned I am back in minimalist mode. I want to reduce the amount of possessions, or stuff that I do not need and appreciate what I have. I want to make everything I have useful and appreciate it. I’ve had a lot of success, donating clothes, shoes and trading in physical media like record albums, movie discs and yes, books. I know, I know. Getting rid of books is tantamount to blasphemy to some.

I enjoy reading, always have. If I am not reading a book, then I am reading content online or e-books. But I am drawn to books because of the tactile nature. The feel, the smell and the looks of them. Drop me off at a library or bookstore and pick me hours later.

Reading books transports me to the places I want to go and explore, it stimulates my mind, they relax me right before I go to sleep and they have been comforting while in my home office when I take a break, grab something from the bookshelf, sit in the comfy chair and relax.

I’m learning to let go of physical books for long periods of time. I don’t need an anti-library. But the process of removing them was easier than I hoped. I sorted what I wanted and parted with those I don’t. During a move across country, I would squeeze my vast library into about 25 totes that were a burden to carry and transport. I am down to sixteen physical books after ruthlessly culling the herd.

The winter season is almost here and I anticipate a lot of free time will be spent reading. So my thinking is to plan what to read specifically for the next few months.

A minimalist’s approach to reading can be just as rewarding as having your own physical library but without all the occupied space.

Screenshot from Libby, the public library app

Here’s what I plan to do:

  • Purge those books I haven’t gotten around to reading or are a one-time use.
  • Borrow from the library, either physical or digital books.
  • Seek and find books from the Little Free Library systems
  • Sell, trade or give away the rest of the books I no longer need.
  • Get comfortable reading from the iPad.
  • Organize my digital library using my BookTrack software much like a librarian, or curator would. I can enjoy thousands of books on one space-saving, portable device wherever I go.
  • I will no longer purchase digital books. After closing my Amazon and Google accounts a few years ago, I lost all ability to read them because I purchased a license and not a product.
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Screenshot of one of my bookshelves in BookTrack

Early this year I covered RSS and Read-It-Later apps in the past but I’ll be relying on these tools even more now.

I’ve mentioned books in this post but the same can be applied to all physical media like record albums, DVDs, etc. Streaming or borrowing digital media on multiple devices is quite liberating and minimal.

The Library

After scanning the website and cleaning up some design code, I came across the Library page. It has been neglected and needed a good dusting off. So of course I neglected it again but that will change soon as I also rediscovered an e-book resource called Standard E-Books and need to make room for new additions.

I just downloaded and installed more copies of public domain classics in beautiful modern formats. So this is just in time for cooler weather and curling up with a good, uh, iPad.

Screenshot from my Apple Books library. Page 3 out of 10 (not shown)

Dune + Foundation

In anticipation of the upcoming movie versions of these sci-fi classics this fall, I am reading both Dune and Foundation.  Dune was written in the 1960’s and Foundation was released in the 1950’s so does their relevance stack up over time? Hopefully the theatrical releases will both do the novels justice and still be relevant to modern viewers.

Currently Reading 3/16/2021

The Book Buddy app

As usual, the library has my desired titles on hold for weeks, and then seems to release them all at once. If I don’t check them out promptly, they’ll go to the next patron and I’ll need to wait for even more weeks.

This week, there are four titles that I am reading all at once. I just finished one so make it three more to go.

Side note: I’m enjoying the Book Buddy iOS app that allows me to log what I am reading and have read. More on this later.