Sunday Salon: Bookkeeping, Bookmarks, and Reading, Online-style

When I went on vacation last month I had a few guest bloggers fill in here, and I think the one who got the biggest response was Molly from The Bumbles Blog, with her tips for managing feed-reader clutter. I’ve implemented one of her suggestions and have been using it for a few weeks now, so I thought I’d let you know how it was going.

If your preferred browser is Firefox, you read blogs via RSS feed through Google Reader, and you subscribe to a sizable number of blogs (let’s say at least 100, and I’ll say my number is several times more than that), I’m going to second Molly’s recommendation to read them with Feedly instead. Feedly is a Firefox extension that syncs with your Google Reader, and includes all subscriptions and folders you’ve set up there (you do organize your blogs into folders, right?). The terminology is a little different – Feedly calls your subscriptions “sources” and lets you organize them into “categories” – but the functionality is pretty much the same; it just looks a lot nicer. These are a few of my favorite ways that Feedly improves the blog-reading experience:

  • Choice of Start Page: You do NOT have to be confronted with the number of unread posts when you first open Feedly unless you actually want to know! I prefer to be forewarned, so I use the “Latest Articles” page as my start page, but you can opt to open with the “Favorites”, “Cover,” or “Digest” view if you prefer. The last two views don’t show the unread count, but they can also include your Twitter stream and mentions, as well as updates from YouTube and Flickr. 
  • Easy Reading: Feedly is just so streamlined. The preview of each item is larger that Google Reader offers, so both skimming and choosing which posts you want to read in full are easier. Posts can be marked as read, saved as unread, read and saved for later, opened in another window or tab, or opened in a preview pop-up with just a click. Feedly is helping me become a speedier blog reader – and that’s good, because there’s only so much time in the day!
  • Easy Sharing: Feedly makes it ridiculously easy to share posts to other sites; every post you open has an array of sharing icons at the top. If you choose to share to Twitter, it opens a window with the post title and shortened (bit.ly) link, and lets you know how many characters are available to add in your own message. Feedly’s “Karma” feature lets you know how many users have clicked a link you shared on Twitter, just in case you were wondering.

Feedly allows for lots of customization and has made my blog reading even more enjoyable. Have you tried it yourself?

Via Feedly, a few BOOKMARKS for this week:

Will you be at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week? I’m going for the first time, but only for the first two days, Thursday and Friday. My Friend Amy will be there for all four days, and offers a Comic-Con Guide for the Bookish Set.

Do people ever ask how you manage to read so many books? Alison shared some of her secrets – what are some of yours?

Have you encountered some of the tricky things to consider when recommending books that Becky has?

Speaking of tricky things…book blogging has opened new avenues to friendship between readers and authors, but with those friendships may come certain responsibilities. Author Shannon Hale discusses how writers’ friends can carry out the responsibility of being first readers.

As part of the new “Outspoken Interviews” series on Estella’s Revenge, author Marilyn Johnson makes a plea to save budget-threatened public libraries.

Michelle has been opening up some discussions on the nature of blogging in her Food for Thought series – most recently, she’s brought up blogger development and freedom of speech.

But since we are supposed to be talking about reading books here in the Sunday Salon…

BOOKKEEPING: The Reading Status Report

Recent Reviews:
The Local News, by Miriam Gershow
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (50th Anniversary observation)
Fly Away Home, by Jennifer Weiner

Upcoming Reviews:
31 Bond Street, by Ellen Horan (TLC Book Tour)
This is Not the Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness, by Laura Munson (review and discussion for From Left to Write Book Club)
Bird in Hand, by Christina Baker Kline (TLC Book Tour)
Every Last One, by Anna Quindlen
Lit: A Memoir, by Mary Karr (TLC Book Tour)

New Additions to the LibraryThing “To Read” Collection:
Labor Day: A Novel, by Joyce Maynard (upcoming TLC Book Tour)

Have a great reading week!

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