I have a new post up over at Tungsten Hippo, about reading to discover new worlds and new aspects of my own world.
"Some stories hold up a mirror and help us better see ourselves, others give us a window into the experiences of different people. A rare few do both."
I'm reading a book right now that is in that rare third category. It is a collection of essays by Kiese Laymon called How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.Laymon is a hugely talented writer, able to really make me understand the emotional impact of his experiences as a Black man from Mississippi while at the same time holding up a revealing mirror to my own experiences as a white American. The aspects of white America his mirror shows aren't always our best ones (he in fact has a memorable passage about "the worst of white people"), but overall, the essays are hopeful in tone. As depressing as some of what he writes about is, he does not leave the reader depressed.
The Kindle edition of the book is selling for $1.99 right now, and honestly, the title essay alone is worth more than that.
I haven't figured out how I want to include collections over at Tungsten Hippo yet, and I can't post about this book there until I do. So I'll tell you about it here and urge you to go read it. It is well worth your time.
I'll sort out what to do with collections eventually, so feel free to keep sending me recommendations for those as well as for stand alone short reads.
In other Tungsten Hippo news, I set up a Tungsten Hippo Facebook page. If you're into Facebook, you can follow me there. I'll post links to all my Tungsten Hippo posts as well as occasional other things I find that are relevant.
I do not have a personal Facebook page (and do not intend to set one up), so I'm new to Facebook and am still figuring out how best to make use of it. But learning new things is part of the point of the Tungsten Hippo project, so that's all good.
I also spent some time this weekend making the main Tungsten Hippo site more search engine friendly. Those changes will largely be invisible to users, unless you're the type of user who notices a URL going from http://tungstenhippo.com/?=node/9 to http://tungstenhippo.com/content/assassin-and-pirate-lord-throne-glass-novella or the appearance of the "Short eBook enthusiast" slogan in the home page title in your browser.
Of course, the most important thing for search engine optimization is to have other pages link into Tungsten Hippo, so my next step will be to look for blogs or forums where I might want to participate as Tungsten Hippo. If you know of any, please tell me about them! If you have a website and feel inclined to link over, it would be helpful and much appreciated. I am already doing better than I anticipated in terms of number of hits, so I've started to think that my little project might actually turn out to be useful to other people, which would be pretty cool.