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Time to Read

I cannot remember a time before reading. Some of my earliest memories from school are of pulling a book out from my desk once I’d finished my seat work. As I got older, this habit eventually got me into trouble, not because my teachers minded, but because I would rush through my work to get to my book. In the sixth grade, I learned the hard way that I needed to focus on the work first. But I kept on reading. I kept reading through school, and through college.

I kept reading through graduate school and out into the work world. No matter how busy I got, I always had a book on my bedside table, and I read at least a chapter or two most nights. Then I had kids, and my time fractured into even smaller pieces. For the first time in my life, I had a hard time keeping a book going. I’d start something but not be able to make any progress because I’d forget the details of the plot between when I put the book down and when I’d next pick it up. Heck, sometimes I’d forget the characters between reading sessions.

I almost gave up on reading books, and mostly read magazine articles instead. I got a Kindle long after the initial wave of adopters, but I loved it almost as soon as I got it. Two things happened: (1) I could carry it with me easily, so I found more pockets of time in which to read. (2) I discovered short eBooks, which I could finish before I forgot the beginning even during those foggy sleep-deprived days of early parenthood.

I forget how exactly I found George Berger’s Midnight’s Tale- maybe it was a random tweet, and maybe it was a quirk in the Amazon suggestion algorithm. But it was only 99 cents, so I gave it a chance, and I was hooked. Not all of the short eBooks I’ve tried have been as rewarding, but since they require only a modest investment of time and money, I don’t mind the misses I find amongst the hits. However, I found myself wanting a source of suggestions for new short eBooks other than Amazon’s algorithms- after all, my goals and Amazon’s goals don’t completely overlap. I found some interesting things, but could not find what I was after.

So I decided to make what I wanted, and Tungsten Hippo was born. I have big ideas for my little website, but for now, I’m starting small. I’ll post a new book most Wednesdays, a new quote from a short eBook most Fridays, and a new blog post on the Monday closest to the time when I had the idea of something to write. It will be informal and quirky and definitely biased by what I like- I will only post books I like, afterall. I will, however, accept guest posts from authors who want to tell us about their short eBooks, and also from other people who convince me that what they want to post is 100% relevant to the site. See the Overview and Contact Info page for more details on all of this, and the relevant disclaimers about affiliate links and the like.

If you knew me in real life, you would not be surprised at all that I feel the need to categorize my short eBooks into more than just fiction and non-fiction. My librarian father might be a little disappointed that I didn’t choose to stick with the Dewey decimal system of classification, but once I noticed that four of the titles on my initial list of short eBooks were quirky stories involving animals, I couldn’t not make that a category. Yes, I know there are only two entries in that category right now. It will also not surprise those who know me in real life to learn that I am keeping a backlog of books to post. I like to plan ahead.

Two things I know I want to include but do not include right now are collections of short writing and poetry. In the first case, it is because I haven’t figured out how I want to structure the entries. The answer will come to me, so we just have to be patient. In the second case, it is because I haven’t gone looking for the content yet. If you have suggestions for poetry collections that would meet the definition of a short eBook (which, roughly speaking is a book that would be less than 160 pages in print form), send them my way. Also feel free to send me other suggestions for things to read. I particularly encourage you to send me your suggestions for things written by people whose stories often get overlooked. The relative lack of diversity in the authors of books I’ve chosen so far is more a function of the limitations of the search algorithms I’m using than in my interests. If you decide to help me fix that, I’ll be truly grateful. Don't worry, straight white guys- I'm happy to hear about your books, too.

I don't promise to read all the books suggested to me, and I certainly can't promise to like all the books I read enough to post them here. But I do promise to read all the emails suggesting books. I’ve decided that I do not have the time to moderate comments, so I have not enabled them. However, you can reach me at riverhorse@tungstenhippo.com.

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