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That's good reading

November 11, 2008 | 12:41 pm


Good, a magazine/website/event nexus that is about being socially responsible and green without getting too preachy, has launched a book blog (via).

So far, the blog, Signatures, has used books to look at contemporary issues -- Barack Obama through the lens of Walt Whitman, books of the Great Depression and the light they might shed on the current moment. In a post from mid-October, blogger Anne Trubek considers a new kind of socially responsible book buying: supporting literary fiction.

Since so few people buy literary fiction, a few copies go a long way. Your purchases could help keep an author writing and a press publishing. Many laud the virtues of buying books from independent bookstores, and I’m all for that. I focus, however, on what I buy, not where I buy it — I may order novels from amazon.com, but I favor those published by independent presses or written by lesser-known authors (regardless of publisher). Each time you buy a book this way, you help preserve literary diversity.

She recommends five independent presses: Algonquin, Graywolf, MacAdam/Cage, Soft Skull and Unbridled Books. A good start, for sure (although there are many more independent presses out there).

One commentor recommends another means of socially responsible book buying: making online purchases from Better World Books. The online bookseller ships its books to the U.S. for free, and every order is "shipped carbon-neutral" with offsets from CarbonFund.org. Better World Books also, through a network of universities and libraries, helps turn donations into funding for international literacy programs. Pretty good.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Flickr