We use the Reader for work and play — to discover great writing and photography and to follow personal “pet” topics of interest. Michelle and Pick have already shared their favorite corners of the Reader. Today I get to be Alice in Wonderland and show you how I use the Reader to follow my favorite writers. Welcome to my writerly rabbit hole! Salty snacks and frosty beverages are on the left — help yourself.

I fell in love with longform nonfiction back in the early 90s as a college student, when I first started reading Esquire, among other magazines. Back then, it was all paper. There was no place to read others’ thoughts about the work. No place to discuss ideas or comment on what I’d read. Thankfully today, I can use the Reader to follow the writers I love, find out new information about them, learn of new pieces, commentary, and interviews, and interact with a community of people who love the same kinds of writing.

A summer tradition

Reading is re-reading.

Reading is re-reading.

The July 2000 issue of Esquire magazine has graced my coffee table for 13 years. Each summer, I re-read Michael Paterniti’s The Long Fall of One-Eleven Heavy, a reflection on the crash of SwissAir 111 on September 2nd, 1998.

Another piece on my re-read list is Tom Junod’s The Falling Man, a piece in which Junod attempts to identify the man in an iconic photo that captures the tragedy and loss of September 11th, 2001.

I’ve been following Paterniti and Junod ever since, reading every word I can get my hands on.

I first discovered David Rakoff via audio segments of This American Life. Intrigued with his wry insights on life and human behavior, I read Fraud, one of his essay collections, then promptly devoured Half Empty — another Rakoff essay collection. Tragically, Rakoff died of Cancer on August 9th, 2012.

All this goodness, in one place

In addition to fun topics such as jamon and tattoo, I’ve got Michael Paterniti, Tom Junod, David Rakoff, and several other favorite writers listed as topics in my Reader — it’s an easy way to find out new information, new pieces, and most importantly, meet a community of people who love longform nonfiction. (I actually found out about Rakoff’s posthumous book via the Reader. It’s a great way to follow the authors you admire.)

Who do you love?

Whose writing do you love? Into Stephen King? Rebecca Solnit? Lev Grossman? Flannery O’Connor? Patrick Rothfuss? George R.R. Martin? No matter whose writing you love, you can learn more about your favorite authors and get to know like-minded readers by following your favorite writers as topics in your Reader.

Proper nouns FTW

Not into reading? How about music? Try following your favorite music artists in the Reader to find your community. Into controversy? Follow the Miley Cyrus topic in your Reader. Whatever your pleasure, you’ll be sure to find posts, commentary, and a passionate community.

For your reading pleasure

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  1. This looks great, and most interesting. I am an avid reader, so this will be invaluable. Thanks for sharing. Alienora


  2. Great! It’s so good to know that we can tactfully identify and associate with a community of similar interest.
    Wordpress is rich with beautiful resourses.
    Thanks for sharing this! 🙂


  3. Not sure doing a pingback on this was a good idea, as I haven’t added anything – but thank you so much for making me realise how it works. I really hadn’t got it. I’m still very new to this, but learning rapidly.

    Does it use tags, or categories, or just a word search to find the topics?


    1. @Hedwigia — welcome to The Daily Post!

      When you add a tag to your post, that tag becomes a topic you can search for in the Reader. Let’s say you wrote a post about making pickles. You tag the post “pickles.” If you visit the Reader and enter “pickles” into the search bar, you’ll get a pile of posts tagged with “pickles.” The posts are shown from the most recent to least recent. If you’ve got a hobby or a subject that you’re particularly interested in, try following that topic in the Reader.


  4. I want to go beyond how nice you may look or how helpful this was to those who are new to the WP Reader. I want to comment on your own choices in the Reader; to long form nonfiction and the humanity shown in your examples. Among your Gravatar and instructional words, there is tucked a glimpse at what I find to be much more important: real writing, depth of feeling, a look beyond first glances, a way of seeing our world, community and neighbor. Thank you.


    1. Hi @Patti — your thoughtful comment made my day!

      a way of seeing our world

      Yes — this is exactly what attracts me to longform nonfiction — I love the new context and perspective that these writers offer. It makes me think carefully about the way I view the world.


      1. We really lose that trying to do short snappy blogs. I will find some more of the good writing around here…
        or I’ll just follow you around like a puppy!


  5. I find the reader so easy to use and check it a couple times each day. I also love the “you may like” feature and subscribe through it as well. Does it use a logo-rhythm to cycle through everyone’s blog?


      1. Thank you! I was getting a lot more follows before being diagnosed with breast cancer. Now that I’ve had my last surgery, I shouldn’t be writing so many Boob Reports which may not appeal to everyone.


      1. I know right?
        Thank you! It has been kicked to the curb. I caught it in time and had the boobectomy and reconstruction. I just take pill every day for five years. Yay! I plan to publish
        The Boob Report next year to help others through the process. 🙂


  6. Loved the Falling Man. Such a sad and fascinating tale. I have not read the rest, but I live This American Life and listen every week. Also love WordPress Reader. I found an amazing photographer’s site through it. I still love Following Atticus because of Tom Ryan’s writing. It is beautiful to read.


  7. Been doing this solid for the past week to try and find new blogs to enjoy. It’s incredible how many topics aren’t there, though. This, however, will be a big help.