Here are my favorite links for readers and people who love the written word ... including on-line libraries, pages by and about my favorite authors and poets, e-texts, bookstores, on-line magazines and journals, and more. Enjoy! Please also visit my pages for Mythology and Folklore, Religion and Philosophy and my page for Writers. And by all means, please be sure to let me know what you think. Drop me an e-mail.
"A man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."
— Mark Twain
"In a culture where the printed word is just one among many competing media; where the din of TV, commercial and talk radio, the internet, video games and DVDs threaten to drown out the quieter, deeper message of written material; in an environment that could be described, with some accuracy, as post-literate, reading is more than necessary. It is a radical and subversive activity."
— Jim Threlkeld
"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."
— Jorge Luis Borges
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us"
— Franz Kafka
One of my proudest ever moments was being knighted. (Yes, I am properly Sir John.) It happened on my New Years 2000 trip to England. I was dubbed by Richard, the King of the independent free nation of Hay-on-Wye. Hay, a small town on the border between England and Wales, is famous for its bookstores--nearly 50 of them. Even the castle in the town centre is now a bookstore. If you get a chance, be sure to attend the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival. I hope to go there when I die if I am good during my life.
If you're a book lover, give it a try. Filedby is an interesting new way for authors and readers to connect. And don't miss this hot library smut—like porn for book nerds. And Library Thing is terrific... my wife Carol and I are (as of August, 2009) about three-quarters of the way through cataloging our own library.
If you're running out of reading material, try the World Digital Library, or take a look at an ambitious attempt to learn everything about every word!
This is what the Internet is for: The Digital Public Library of America is an ambitious effort to digitize America’s libraries and museums (in other words, our entire cultural heritage) and make that vast corpus of knowledge accessible, searchable, and computable. It is far from realized, but you’ll find a fascinating and absorbing collection of digital documents.
Literature Map is a cool and fun application. Here’s a terrific site for fantasy maps. Speaking of maps, the Book of Curiosities includes, among other things, the oldest known square map of the world.
Search libraries in your neighborhood, or pretty much anywhere else, with WorldCat.
Here's a huge online library, the Internet Public Library, and here's the Gutenberg Project, one of the largest libraries of classic texts on the entire Internet. Page by Page Books offers another extensive e-library of free classic texts to browse.
King of Theatre offers one of the very best collections of Shakespeare resources you’ll find anywhere on the Web. Because, hey, it’s always a good time to read some William Shakespeare. This is another terrific Shakespeare Site. Speaking of Shakespeare, create a Shakespearean Insult! Click here for more Shakespearean Insults! If you're looking for a particular passage or turn of phrase in the Bard's work, or even his use of a particular word, try the Shakespearean Search Engine. Here's another cool site of Shakespeare searched. This site maps Shakespeare's social networks.
Did you know you can read some of the works of Charles Dickens on line? Visit the Dickens Page for even more electronic texts.
Here's the complete text of Don Quixote, one of my very favorites. Would you believe I almost forgot to include Alexandre Dumas, Raphael Sabatini, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Dante? I adore Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. (Speaking of the latter, Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog.)
Read Print offers thousands of free books for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast. To find the book you desire to read, start by looking through the author index. If you need help with something, feel free to drop them a line.
Here's a page of contemporary Irish writing on the Web, Irish Literature, the Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT), and here's a site for Irish Drama, Literature, Folklore and Mythology, and another. Here's Luminarium, a beautiful starting point for the study of Medieval, Renaissance and 17th century English literature.
Samuel Pepys of London, one of the most fascinating diarists in history, can be sampled here. Of course, you can also follow the late Master Pepys on Twitter.
Here is a simply awesome site of Chinese Classics, in multiple translations (and not just to English) with the Chinese text. Mouse over the Chinese characters for the definition. Speaking of translations, here's a list of translated books. The top 50 most translated authors list is fascinating--Danielle Steele and Shakespeare are side by side, both below Jules Verne.
Andrew Lang's multi-colored Fairy Books are available online! Speaking of fairytales, don't miss the Museum of Make Believe. Here’s my adult contemporary take on faery tales.
Read a banned book!
More good reads online
This is a terrific online Library of the Fantastic. You'll find some great stuff there, so don't miss it.
The Internet Speculative Fiction Database is a community effort to catalog works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It links together various types of bibliographic data: author bibliographies, publication bibliographies, award listings, magazine content listings, anthology and collection content listings, and forthcoming books. My Lord of the Rings Online buddy Lee King has written a really fun book.
The FireBlade Coffeehouse is a cozy place to curl up with some on-line fiction. Blackmask offers a vast library of online books of all sorts. The pulp section is really good. The Moonlit Road is an intriguing collection of Southern ghost stories.
Speaking of theatre, Didaskalia: Ancient Theater Today is an excellent resource on Greek and Roman drama, dance and music. Anywhere, at any hour, experience a modern play on the Web. Bravo!
Lovers of ancient lore won't want to miss the Poetic Edda. Here’s a nifty Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language.
Recommended by my friend Lee Verner: Arts and Letters Daily is daily collection of articles from a wide variety of publications covering almost very topic and from almost very point of view. It's a rare day when I can't spend a half hour or so just deciding what to read.
The Directory of Open Access Journals covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals covering all subjects and languages. When I added this link, there were 1260 journals in the directory with more than 320 journals searchable on article level and more than 60090 articles included. My friend Lee Verner sent the link, warning that even reading the abstracts sucks far more time than most of us have available. Also, here was a site that claims to have the largest Online Literature Library.
Earthpages offers essays, articles, links, and references on politics, culture, religion, myth, psychology, and much, much more.
My favorite newspapers, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The Times of London, are all available online. On a related note, here you can click to see the front pages of newspapers from all over the world.
LibrarySpot.com is a free virtual library resource center for educators and students, writers, librarians and their patrons, families, businesses and just about anyone exploring the Web for valuable research information.
This is just plain amazing, and lovely:fanned book spines as art!
"All right, I will learn to read. But when I have learned, I never, never shall."
— British novelist David Garnett at age 4, to his mother.
"I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows."
— Roger Zelazny
"There's stories and there's stories....the ones with any worth change your life forever, perhaps in a small way, but once you've heard them, they are forever a part of you. You nurture them and pass them on and the giving only makes you feel better. The stories are just stories, they make one laugh or cry—but if they have any worth, they carry within them a deeper resonance that remains long after the final page is turned ... or the storyteller has come to the end of her tale."
— Charles de Lint
Some of my favorite Authors on the Web:
First, visit Charles de Lint, an author who has managed to blend elements of Celtic and Native American mythology, folklore, magic, and fantasy with the harsh realities of the modern world. The result? Some absolutely beautiful novels and a whole new genre: Contemporary or Urban Fantasy. Charles de Lint's characters are people you'll want to spend time with. Charles is also a good friend and a terrific person. There must be something in the water up there in Canada. Guy Gavriel Kay is also amazing, even if the rascal has committed the unforgivable sin of being a Yankees fan. God will forgive him. Probably.
And speaking of Mr. de Lint, Endicott Studio is home to a number of modern mythmakers, including authors Teri Windling, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and artist Tom Canty. It's well worth a visit! The essays and reading list alone are priceless.
My new favorite right now is Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of the absolutely amazing The Shadow of the Wind. Don’t miss it. Don’t dare.
T.H. White wrote The Once and Future King, the first King Arthur book I fell in love with. That love led ultimately to this, my own contemporary Arthurian novel.
Peter S. Beagle is a terrific writer and a good friend. If you get a chance to meet him, you are in for a night of terrific conversation.
Lord Dunsany, one of the grandfathers of fantasy and one of the most poetic writers who ever lived, wrote this amazing Book of Wonder.
Have you visited the official Mervyn Peake Web site, home of the astonishing Gormenghast trilogy. These amazing books deserve to be much more well-known.
I'm very impressed by Dan Simmons, author of the brilliant Hyperion and its sequels. Tim Powers is always a fun read.
I've recently discovered and thoroughly enjoyed the atmospheric and lush literary mystery thrillers of Matthew Pearl. Gregory David Roberts is just astonishing. I can't rave enough about Isabel Allende, Alice Hoffman, and Louise Erdrich.
J.V. Jones, author of a fun trilogy of fantasy novels which begins with The Baker's Boy, has a page of her own. Ms. Jones provided some of my resources for writers as well. Patricia McKillip writes like an angel.
I also adore Umberto Eco, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Pat Conroy. Harlan Ellison is ... well, Harlan Ellison. Antoine-Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupery's book The Little Prince is a special favorite.
Lloyd Alexander (author of The Black Cauldron , The Beggar Queen, and several other favorites), Madeleine L'Engle, and Dr. Suess are in a special class all by themselves. I am very, very proud to have met all three of them. Speaking of Lloyd Alexander, please visit the Friends of Lloyd Alexander blog.
If you love the Winnie the Pooh books, click here! Be sure to visit Shel Silverstein's clever and delightful site.
Here is the official site for J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter books. The Leaky Cauldron is a wonderful Harry Potter fan site, as is Mugglenet.
If it weren't for a workshop with Orson Scott Card, I doubt I'd be close to finishing my own novel. Thank you, Scott! If you ever get a chance to take one of his 1000 Ideas in an Hour classes, don't you dare miss it. Author C.J. Cherryh has a fine page with loads of cool links and resources to explore. George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire is terrific.
I love the writing of Mark Helprin and Wilton Barnhardt, although the latter is hard to find on the Web. Check him out, though. Thank me later.
Now then. What can I say about John Myers Myers? Myers' book Silverlock is one of my favorites of all time. It may not the best I've ever read, but I can't remember enjoying one more. Ever. Here is my pal Lee Verner's Silverlock reading journal, and here is a spot where you can meet the women of the Commonwealth. A beautiful new version has just been published, complete with new essays, sheet music, and annotations. It may take away some of the joy of reference hunting, but there are worse problems to have. Savor and enjoy.
On a similar note, imagine Douglas Adams writing Silverlock, and you'll have an idea of what to expect from Jasper Fforde's delightful The Eyre Affair and its equally wonderful sequels.
No one has had more of an influence on my life than the three authors who taught me, all the way back in the fifth grade, to fall in love with books and reading, and the wonders waiting inside dusty covers. They are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Ray Bradbury.
There are about a million Tolkien pages out there... as well there should be. This is an especially good one, and it has a world of links to other pages. This is an amazing collection of the ancient texts that inspired Tolkien as a writer and a scholar. The Tolkien Fanatics site is quite good, and the Encyclopedia of Arda is just plain amazing.
The White Tree Fund publishes Silver Leaves, a magnificent scholarly journal on J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and the Inklings, with proceeds benefit charity. Please take a look.
This article does an amazing job of analyzing The Lord of the Rings from a Jungian perspective. I took at stab at that myself in this article, asking Can Fantasy Be Myth: Mythopoeia and The Lord of the Rings.
The One Ring and War of the Ring both focus on Tolkien media (like the films and games). This page offers a comprehensive bibliography and publishing history of Professor Tolkien's work. This is the definitive site for Professor Tolkien's invented languages.
Here's an excellent C.S. Lewis page. Into the Wardrobe is a terrific Narnia page. I'm also very found of Virtual Narnia, The Stone Table, and, of course, Narnia Web. Aslan's Country is also very good.
Here's a terrific page devoted to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and their famous writers' group, the Inklings. The Mythopoeic Society is an excellent source for the mythic influences of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Like Narnia Web, The Mythopoeic Society is a great place to find a warm and insightful online community.
Speaking of the masters, Radio Rivendell plays great music to read them, and anything else, by. Recommended!
I wish I could have met these gentlemen in person and said a word of thanks. I wish I could have told them how much they meant to me, what a profound and wonderful influence their work has had on my life. Alas, I never got that chance. I was born too late. I DID, however, have a chance to say thanks to Ray Bradbury. We've corresponded and met a few times over the years, most recently at the Swissotel in Atlanta. In fact, I'm the "young, unknown writer" he refers to in his book Zen and the Art of Writing. He even bought me my first Guiness. If you've followed Ray's career pretty well, you'll know what I mean when I say he's been my Mr. Electrico. Thanks, Ray. For everything.
Here is a lovely video of Ray talking about love, writing for movies, and how to make the studios behave.
"An ordinary man can surround his home with two thousand books, and thence forward have at least one place in the world where it is always possible to be happy."
— Augustine Birrell
"Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving. Why does anybody tell a story? It does indeed have something to do with faith, faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically."
— Madeleine L'Engle
"Whenever I get a little money, I buy books, and if there's any left, I buy food."
My favorite online Bookshops
Three Geese in Flight specializes in mythic, Celtic, and Arthurian books. They are terrific.
If you're looking for hard-to-find used, rare or out of print books, try ABE, The Advanced Book Exchange, offering database searches of the complete inventories of bookshops all across the nation. They are amazing. In fact, you can oten find signed copies of new books for the same price, or even less, than you'd pay in your local big box bookstore.
Or, when looking for something out of print or hard to find, let someone else do it for you. Send an e-mail message to the agents at Booklynx!
Here's another top source for rare and out of print books and media.
Here's a service that offers a new free book search agent which finds out the best offer for one or more books across all important internet bookstores. Since there are huge differences in prices, shipping costs and delivery times between the various internet bookstores, you may be able to save time and money by giving them a try.
Powells is the most amazing independent I know of.
For cheap stuff, you can't go wrong with Book Closeouts.
For mail order British books, especially science fiction and fantasy, try Porcupine Books, a mail order shop.
"I have abandoned my search for truth, and am now looking for a good fantasy."
"Exit, pursued by a bear."
— Stage direction in William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale
Catch a sneak preview of my own new contemporary urban fantasy The Widening Gyre or Blackthore Faire. How about some Music, Religion and Philosophy, or Mythology and Folklore?
Please send me an E-mail and let me know what you think!