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What’s the best way to practice to get good at _____

Take your field, your sport, your hobby, your area of occupation and tell me the best way to become really good at some aspect of it. Don’t hesitate to name some form of practice that is heavily monotonous and laborious if it manages to yield awesome results. I don’t care how tedious it is. All I’m interested in are forms of practice or exercises that do elicit measurable improvements in a person’s ability to complete some task or exhibit some skill. [more inside]
posted by RapcityinBlue on Jun 3, 2013 - 39 answers

Publishing options for a collection of literary short fiction

I'm nearing completion of a book of very short stories that riff in various ways on the 'joke' form. The pieces are 1-2 pages. I want to publish this book. I'm not sure the best way. [more inside]
posted by skwt on May 27, 2013 - 4 answers

Help with project? Please list fictional cities !

For a project I'm currently working on as part of my graduation in Graphic Design, I wanted to compile something like an atlas of fictional cities. These may be from books, legends, stories, video games, advertisements, comics, really whatever... Even "real" cities but alternate versions, imagined or in some way deviate from their real counterpart are valid. [more inside]
posted by ahtlast93 on May 18, 2013 - 47 answers

Golden Compass close read

Due to persistant recommendations on AskMe, I am finally reading (well, listening to) The Golden Compass. It's amazing. Now I want to read about The Golden Compass. [more inside]
posted by latkes on May 13, 2013 - 16 answers

Brainstorming book-themed cupcakes

A group I belong to plans to have a book-themed Cupcake Wars party. Everyone's supposed to make a batch of cupcakes with a name based on a book title. Example: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cupcakes. [more inside]
posted by BibiRose on May 11, 2013 - 27 answers

Diamonds in the haystack

I'm looking for the unexpected, overlooked masterpieces hiding within conventionally marginal artistic genres: novelty Christmas music albums, mass market cowboy novels, direct-to-video action movie sequels, etc. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on May 7, 2013 - 16 answers

I read way too many books by white dudes.

I'm looking for recommendations for contemporary(ish) literary fiction written by folks who are not white men. [more inside]
posted by shakespeherian on May 7, 2013 - 55 answers

What book was this?

Help me ID a book I read a few years back ... [more inside]
posted by LonnieK on May 3, 2013 - 5 answers

Joan Didion's uncollected works

How can I assemble a complete list of Joan Didion's uncollected works? [more inside]
posted by kensington314 on Apr 30, 2013 - 5 answers

No Murakami please

Asking for a friend: I like to read, but I don't like reading Literature. I feel really crappy about this. What literary books might I like that do not read like literature? [more inside]
posted by goosechasing on Apr 24, 2013 - 51 answers

Iraq and Afghanistan fiction from women writers

Crowd-sourcing a student's question: I'm looking for contemporary novels about Iraq, Afghanistan, 9/11, and the war on terror that have been authored by women. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Apr 24, 2013 - 15 answers

Great books about honest people struggling against a corrupt society?

I have in mind two (fiction) classics on the subject: An Enemy of the People (Ibsen) and The Winter of Our Discontent (Steinbeck). I would appreciate it if you could guide me to other valuable works on this issue.
posted by Basque13 on Apr 23, 2013 - 27 answers

I need a culture fix!

If I were to choose 10 fiction and 10 non-fiction books to read within the next year to make me a better, more well-rounded conversationalist (for argument's sake, let's say within a college-educated professional audience), what books would give me the most bang for my buck? [more inside]
posted by dynamiiiite on Apr 23, 2013 - 37 answers

What was this book of short horror stories?

Help me find a short story collection I read maybe 20 years ago. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Apr 15, 2013 - 9 answers

Have you heard of these two short stories?

Can MeFi help me track down these two stories? [more inside]
posted by John of Michigan on Apr 6, 2013 - 4 answers

So?

Where is this mystical land where it is acceptable to answer statements with: "So?" [more inside]
posted by 256 on Apr 5, 2013 - 40 answers

The Books of the Dead! muhuhuhahaha

Why do horror stories often feature mysterious relics that often have information encoded in them, such as accursed old books, runes, etc.? What kinds of anxieties is this trope meant to express? [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Apr 4, 2013 - 34 answers

Resources and suggestions needed for improving my teaching skills

So I've been doing a little bit of teaching of free adult classes in my erstwhile academic specialty, an area of literature. (I am not an academic and do not teach except for community stuff.) I have trouble with big group discussion and balancing my role in the class. [more inside]
posted by Frowner on Apr 3, 2013 - 13 answers

Looking for wonderful books I can read to my kids, one chapter at a time

My kids (a boy and a girl) are now five years old, and my wife or I read to them every night before bed. I'd like to start reading larger books to them which we can stretch out throughout a week or more, by reading them a chapter a night. Please help me put together a great reading list of age-appropriate books that will capture their imaginations and inspire happy dreams. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 2, 2013 - 61 answers

Help me identify a piece of writing about cow's milk, urine, and hell

I have a hazy memory of a piece of writing that I would like to identify. It might have been poetry or prose. It might have been modern or not. It might have been in Italian, French, or English. It's an exchange between the protagonist, a man, and an antagonist - possibly a devil? The antagonist is comparing cow's milk to urine, saying that they are both liquids that come out of cows and are essentially the same. The protagonist says that they are essentially difference and if the antagonist can't articulate why, that simply means the lack is in his understanding. Then he is whisked away somehow. It's been a long, long, time since I read this, but it made a big impression on me, and I'd like to find up where it is from. If anyone recognizes this exchange please let me know. Obviously google searches are problematic given the subject matter.
posted by bq on Mar 20, 2013 - 1 answer

And Quiet Flows the Don -- real author?

I'm looking for a specific article that claimed that Mikhail Sholokov did not write And Quiet Flows the Don (or at least not the first and best part of it), but instead he plagiarized it. [more inside]
posted by lewedswiver on Mar 16, 2013 - 1 answer

A reader on the mind-body problem?

I'm working on a creative project about somebody who gets his brain removed and put in a vat. What should I read? [more inside]
posted by HeroZero on Mar 15, 2013 - 27 answers

Good books about idleness / laziness / lack of ambition

The British seem to have a particular talent for this (e.g. Wodehouse and Jeeves, Amis and Lucky Jim), so I'm eager to hear more about British authors, but I'm also open to other suggestions.
posted by jtothes on Mar 14, 2013 - 18 answers

ADHD & Graduate studies

I have (late-diagnosed) ADHD & I've just become a graduate student. I'm medicated, and under the care of professionals. This question is about best methodologies in graduate studies, particularly in remembering research I've read. [more inside]
posted by b33j on Mar 12, 2013 - 9 answers

Help me find a specific (art piece?) book

I was linked a book some time ago via twitter, but that account is now gone and with it went the link. Things I remember: Pretty sure it was called "Daylight" (maybe not that, but definitely a time word. daytime? morning?) Content: the text was just the entirety of a single day's New York Times transcribed The link went to the publisher, I recall seeing it on Amazon also. I believe published in the early 90s. 93ish? But still purchasable Currently going crazy trying to find it with such not-so-limiting search terms. My browser history doesn't go back far enough to find it there. Hoping someone familiar with it happens upon this, I guess.
posted by arsey on Mar 8, 2013 - 1 answer

Who wrote this story about a marvellous Alsation dog?

If anyone recognises this story, please can you tell me the author? I think the story is about five years old. An ordinary man with low self-esteem is dumped by his beautiful intelligent accomplished girlfriend. She gives him a dog as a pity present, with a snide subtext that the dog is better than he is. Gradually through caring for the dog, a magnificent Alsation, and taking pride in it, the man recovers his self-esteem and becomes sought-after. It's a story that feels as if it has a lot of undercurrents and as if it's not as simple as it looks: in some way the dog stands in for the guy, or represents the guy or becomes a totem for him. Or something.
posted by glasseyes on Mar 3, 2013 - 3 answers

Thesis argument about cultural contact zones

Hi Mefites! So I'm wondering if anyone can help me in finding something to argue in a 5-6 page paper regarding 'cultural contact zones' in Orwell's essay ' A Passage to India'. Specifically, "the concept of a “contact zone” emphasizes how subjects are constituted in and by their relations to each other, usually involving conditions of coercion, inequality, and conflict. It treats the relations among colonizers and colonized not in terms of separateness but in terms of interaction and interlocking understandings and practices, often within radically asymmetrical relations of power." ( this is part of the prompt). Any suggestions? I'm usually a fairly competent writer but am having trouble here. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Mar 2, 2013 - 15 answers

Works of literature or film featuring taxidermy or taxidermied animals?

References both great and small are welcome. [more inside]
posted by fleetofblimps on Feb 15, 2013 - 35 answers

Modern 'Platonic' dialogues?

Which works published anytime in the last century are Platonic-style dialogues on philosophical themes?
posted by shivohum on Feb 12, 2013 - 27 answers

A Canticle for Leibowitz halfway done--what's my next read?

I'm halfway through A Canticle for Leibowitz and am enjoying it so much that I'm doling it out slowly. It reminds me in a lot of ways of another favorite book The Name of the Rose. I'd love recommendations for books that have that combination of erudition and imagination/fantasy. [more inside]
posted by the sobsister on Feb 6, 2013 - 46 answers

What to read?

Seeking recommendations for fiction that features matriarchy / female led societies.
posted by travelwithcats on Feb 4, 2013 - 36 answers

Digital edition of a small arts magazine - the best way to do this?

I work for a small literary magazine. The incoming managing editor wants us to have a magazine app for tablets that appears on those virtual magazine racks. Is this a good idea, and if so what's the best way to do this? [more inside]
posted by Cantdosleepy on Feb 1, 2013 - 6 answers

Looking for new SF books hiding in the general fiction section

I like science fiction books that are placed in the general fiction section - but for me they are hard to find on Amazon or in libraries. Examples of these kinds of books are The Sparrow, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Oryx and Crake, Cloud Atlas and The Dog Stars ... but I need more new stuff - any suggestions?
posted by Dag Maggot on Jan 29, 2013 - 47 answers

What Elmore Leonard book should I start with?

Simple enough question. I've never read any Elmore Leonard, and think I will give him a whirl. Where should I start?
posted by Alaska Jack on Jan 21, 2013 - 18 answers

Toooo maaany booooks

How do you decide what books to read? Recommendations? Reviews? Go to the bookstore and read a chapter? I often find myself overwhelmed with the zillions of choices. How do you narrow it down?
posted by SampleSize on Jan 9, 2013 - 40 answers

What was this oversized 20th century american novel?

Another episode of Ask Metafilter, book-title detectives. [more inside]
posted by kickingtheground on Jan 5, 2013 - 8 answers

I like Kazuo Ishiguro. What other contemporary novelists/novels should I read?

My taste in novels has generally tended towards the classics but lately I feel like reading some good contemporary fiction. Please recommend some recent-ish books that are well-written and well-crafted, have emotional depth and deal with human relationships in insightful and moving ways. Kazuo Ishiguro is an example of the kind of writer I'm looking for. [more inside]
posted by zeri on Jan 4, 2013 - 24 answers

What are the greatest (yet most original) love affairs of all time?

What are the greatest (yet most original) love affairs of all time? [more inside]
posted by skylar on Dec 22, 2012 - 76 answers

Russian travel prep

I'm traveling to Moscow (and likely St. Petersburg as well)! Tell me all your best resources, materials, and hacks! [more inside]
posted by greta simone on Dec 18, 2012 - 12 answers

Help Me Stay On Top of Current Literature in 2013!

Help Me Stay On Top of Great Literature in 2013! [more inside]
posted by Lipstick Thespian on Dec 18, 2012 - 17 answers

Can you recommend an apocalyptic text to read on stage?

I'm looking for some good armageddons. I'm MCing an End-of-the-World poetry reading on December 21st and I want to read a few short passages from apocalyptic texts. I've already settled on the Book of Revelations and Ragnarök, but I'd like to cast a wide net and find some non-Western and/or non-religious/mythological descriptions of the end times. Can you recommend a good doomsday for me to read?
posted by Kattullus on Dec 17, 2012 - 26 answers

Camelotfilter: Best "Arthurian" work.

Which is the "best" version of the Arthurian legend to read? [more inside]
posted by inbetweener on Dec 16, 2012 - 31 answers

Critical Contexts for Writing : a reading list

I've been asked to put together a longish reading list for a BA Art/Literature module, and I'd love some ideas for texts outside my current knowledge. The list should cover a series of genres and contexts, with writing from, and about, the history and theory of art, journalism, academia, design, architecture and film. Writing on design and architecture are particularly outside my knowledge. What innovative and critically significant writings can you recommend across any of these subject areas? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Dec 14, 2012 - 8 answers

How the Other Half Lives (or, you know, Murders People)

Recommendations for fiction about the rich and all their trappings, imposters within that world, or stories where the mighty fell and then rose again? [more inside]
posted by dean winchester on Dec 12, 2012 - 27 answers

Blind me with science.

Help me discover recent 'Best Seller' scientific journal articles to read in 2013. [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself on Dec 10, 2012 - 5 answers

Where are the metasatirical horror novels?

I've been tasked to find metasatirical horror novels: horror novels (or short stories, I suppose) that explore, criticize and parody their own genre tropes. What are the prose equivalents of The Cabin in the Woods and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon?
posted by Faint of Butt on Nov 30, 2012 - 15 answers

World's Worst Dinner Parties

Examples of banquets/dinner parties gone horribly wrong? [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Nov 27, 2012 - 37 answers

who uses fUnNy gRaPhIcaL cOnVenTiOnS??!$%?

I am looking for examples of authors who have used unconventional graphical conventions in their work, published in traditional dead-tree form (books, magazines etc.). Excluding graphic novels, comics etc. Obvious example would be e.e. cummings using lower case; perhaps other poets who use text unconventionally. but novels? There's the big S at the start of Joyce's Ulysses. But what authors have exploited the graphical possibilities of the printed medium in an extensive way? thanks.
posted by cogneuro on Nov 27, 2012 - 46 answers

What happened to Sauron's other rings?

TolkienFilter: What happened to the rings Sauron gave to the elves, dwarves, and men?
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 24, 2012 - 13 answers

Tell me the stories of San Francisco...and help me tell others!

Help me teach the stories of San Francisco! [more inside]
posted by guster4lovers on Nov 23, 2012 - 27 answers

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