Update on: A New Reading Project? I Must be Nuts!

May 2015: I haven’t worked on this project lately, partly due to my frustration in trying to find something on Indiana.  There was no problem finding copyright-free material by famous writers from Indiana – Theodore Dreisser, Gene Stratton Porter, Booth Tarkington among them.  And there were plenty of items available from Gutenberg and Archive.org on the history of Indiana: the state’s role in the civil war, its Native American tribes, Indiana’s early days as a state, etc.  But those things were something I could probably find on nearly every state.  I wanted to find something different, something unique to Indiana.  Then it hit me – The Indianapolis 500.   This wasn’t from any personal interest in automobiles or racing.  I always have to stop and think when someone asks me the years and models of our vehicles.  As for watching cars zip by for hours – ugh, no way!  However, I do appreciate that the Indianapolis 500 is a world famous event, unique to the Hoosier state.  So I began my quest for stories, articles, whatever on the Indy 500.  Simple, right?  Well, not so much.  I was determined to stick to copyright free items, so began searching Gutenberg.org for stories, articles, etc.  No luck.  OK – then Archive.org.  Still no luck!  So on and on I went trying other sources, getting more and more frustrated by the minute.  Jeesh!  Didn’t anyone write anything about this stupid race in its early days???  Then one day I found just what I needed in “Maria’s Books”.  She had written a blog on the San Francisco Earthquake, and made mention of a wonderful source of historic American newspapers: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/  And there I found several articles on the Indianapolis 500, all of them written in the early days of the now famous race.  So thanks to Maria’s research and efforts in writing her blog about California, I’ve found the material that I need to complete my section on Indiana for this project.  Maria, Many Thanks for your help!

April 2015: Due to other recent obligations, I read very little for several days.  While working on projects I started thinking about things I might want to read, once those jobs were complete.  Of course these weren’t books that I already have,  or may download, or get from the library. No, I was thinking of a  totally new reading project.  I’m sure if the books on the shelves throughout our house could have talked, they would have cried, “Are you nuts!?  You haven’t read most of us yet!”  I know, I know, but…

The idea probably started when I was looking at some LibriVox stories that I’d downloaded to my MP3 player.  There were a few such  as “The Best Short Stories of…Whatever”.  While looking at titles I came up with the idea of “50 Stories, 50 States”.  Not necessarily stories about a historical event in each U.S. state, but one story relating to the state.  Perhaps an event from history, but maybe a fictional story about a town in a particular state, or a poem, or a newspaper article, or a story written by an author from a particular state.  Anyway, the idea appeals to me.

I decided the easiest thing to do would be to create a Word document. Downloading items from the Gutenberg.org web page seemed the simplest way to start.  So far things have gone fairly well, though I’m not totally pleased with my project for Alabama.  My first California project was much too long, so it’s been downloaded as a book that I want to read “one day”.  All in all, I’m pleased with the stories that I’ve chosen so far. So I am now looking forward to getting the document completed, sitting in front of the desktop, and reading a story or two each night.

In the meantime, the other books in the house are beckoning me, and reminding me that it’s time to read some of them.  If I get distracted again by the temptation of a new reading project, I think they’ll understand.


2 thoughts on “Update on: A New Reading Project? I Must be Nuts!

  1. “50 States, 50 Stories”! I love the idea. Choosing something representative of each state will be a lot of fun. As a native New Yorker, when I think of the iconic classic literature of my home state, I think of Walt Whitman’s Brooklyn, James Fenimore Cooper’s Cooperstown, or Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow. I’ll bet there are natives of every state in the country with their own ideas of which writers most represent their state. As editor, you have the pleasure of choosing one. I’m looking forward to seeing what you end up with!


    • I’m glad you like the idea, Maria. As you can imagine, this project is already quite an undertaking, and I’m only up to Delaware! I’m doing a combination of fiction and non-fiction, so there’s a lot to choose from. Many of both types of stories promise to be excellent representations of their times, especially those written by people only a few generations away from the story, living in the area where the story (fiction or non-fiction) took place.

      Looks like this project will keep me busy for quite a while!


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