by Brandy D. Anderson
We could all use more books in our lives, right? But half the battle is knowing what’s even out there, and what you’d be interested in reading. Luckily, there are a few wonderful Twitter accounts that will give you quick guides to what’s available, and they’ll help you get back to the rewarding and exciting world of literature.
About: “Saving literature one reader at a time: http://electricliterature.com . ”
This nonprofit digital publisher runs an enthusiastic, fun account that encourages everyone to get involved with writing and reading. Going strong since 2009, Electric Literature’s mission is to “make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive”. They go on to say that they “are committed to publishing work that is intelligent and unpretentious, to elevating new voices, and to examining how literature and storytelling can help illuminate social justice issues”. Electric Literature runs an active Twitter account in conjunction with their website, and they primarily feature essays, books, articles, and various literary news.
You’ll find teasers for new books, like this one: “Dig in to some risky, voice-driven literary noir, courtesy of @Joe_Scapellato: electricliterature.com/8-works-of-literature…” You’re also treated to a wonderfully moody photo of a silhouette of a man walking down a dark street, decked out in a Trimble and trench-coat, the only light that manages to squeak out comes for a few solitary lampposts in the distance. Here’s another book teaser: “Thinking you should have Made It in your twenties is BS. Jen Beagin’s novels are just the reminder you need to take as much time as you need to figure your shit out”: “The author of ‘Vacuum in the Dark’ on cleaning up poop (literally) and finding writing inspiration from donkeys chewing”. That sounds interesting.
There are also helpful articles shared, like this one: “We promise, staring at your screen as you tear at your roots and your crops die isn’t going to get more words on the page. Try this instead”, and the link leads you to an article that begins with, “Let’s start with a cliche: the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The problem with that sentiment is that your first step could go in any direction – and that can often be paralyzing…” Another article combines literature with travel: “We totally get it if you finished ‘Roma’ and immediately wanted to be transported back to Mexico City, so we made a list of books that might give you the taste of Mexico’s capital you’ve been missing”. Electric Literature also hosts writing contests. In fact, their latest one is just about to close at the time of this publishing: “Hey procrastinators! You have 2 more days to submit to our short story contest! Submit for a chance to win $1,000, a free 10-week course with @gothamwriters and your story read at @selectedshorts and published on @Electriclit! Submit by midnight 3/1”.
About: “LitChat is for book lovers, readers & writers. 1-hour #LitChat with guest authors is Monday, 4 pm/et. #LitChathashtag created January 2009 by @CarolyBurnsBass. ”
LitChat is the book account for you if you enjoy chatting with authors, getting firsthand writing advice, and hearing about new releases. Carolyn Burns Bass is the founder and moderator of LitChat and she does a wonderful job of getting diverse authors onboard for each weekly chat, and she’s also great at providing commentary and additional food-for-thought along with author responses. Another useful thing you’ll find on LitChat is a chatscript for each Monday session, so if you miss the live chat, you can find the author’s questions and responses included in a link that leads you to a tidy scroll page embedded with the chronological HTML images of the author’s Tweets.
Every Monday, the interview is first introduced on LitChat’s webpage, found at litchat.com. The website provides a background to the author and the novel that is going to be discussed. The most recent interview was with author Elizabeth Letts: “Elizabeth Lett‘s Finding Dorothy is a richly imagined novel which tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum’s intrepid wife, Maud. Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book—because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets”.
Some of the other authors hosted by LitChat include: Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Ian Barker, Pablo Cartaya, Patricia Mashiter Cooper, Lynne Griffin, Brian Sweany, Chauncey Mabe, and Dana Sachs. Lit Chat’s Twitter account is always busy, there is a lot of content being added. Mondays aren’t their only moderated chats, either: “We have moderated #LitChat each Monday and every first and third Wednesday from 4-5 p.m. E.T. Read the LitChat schedule and home page to see what we are chatting about each week. Each Monday #LitChat is devoted to guest host authors and publishing professionals and is moderated by Carolyn Burns Bass.” If you enjoy everything about writing and reading, LitChat is definitely worth checking out.
About: “All things books from The New York Times. Stop tweeting and read a book.”
The New York Times has long been a mainstay in American journalism. Book reviews is another thing that The New York Times is famous for, so it should be no surprise that their Twitter account for books is enormously popular and active. Of course you can still check out their web page to find book reviews, best seller lists, book review podcasts, and more. However, if you really want to keep up with book news, and especially if you want to be able to follow it all on the go, their Twitter account is a must-have.
Posting about all of the big new releases, The New York Times Twitter account is a plethora of information. You’ll find the gorgeous illustrations from new books like Ginger Break and The Old Drift. The Times editors periodically cover the “12 big books landing on the shelves” each month. There are author profiles, like a recent one showcasing bell hooks: “’”Ain’t I a Woman” by @bellhooks allowed me to recognize the dignity and power of living privately and publicly as an immigrant feminist of colour,’ writes @minjinll11”. The essay begins with: “For me, reading ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ was as if someone had opened the door, and the windows, and raised the roof in my mind”.
There’s another post about “a brilliantly funny and slightly bonkers new novel from Jasper Fforde”. It begins with: “Early Riser” has all of the elements and sensibility that have earned Jasper Fforde a sizable and devoted following: wordplay, allusion, a playful exuberance and — of course — his signature method of worldbuilding”: “In ‘Early Riser’ Fforde explores the strange things that happen when humans begin hibernating during ice age-like winters.” You’ll find a diverse level of content covered. For instance, in ‘Empires of the Weak’, the nonfiction book by J.C. Sharman about current affairs, you’ll read about how “Asia once ruled the world, a Cambridge historian says, and we seem on the cusp of returning to that state of affairs”. Whatever your literary interest, you’ll find ton of content being consistently posted to this account.