Monday, March 3, 2014

The Free Bin: Procrastination, Amtrak Residencies, and Free Homes for Writers


It’s time for another link round-up of interesting stories I’ve found related to books, writing, and the occasional oddball thingamajig. 


What is the allure of trains? Amtrak wants writers to find out. (Loco Steve/Creative Commons License)

  • A non-profit in Detroit has figured out what to do with the supply of empty houses, and is using them to attract creative types to the city. Write-a-House is renovating homes that low-income writers can apply to lease. The kicker: if the writer stays a minimum of two years, he or she is awarded the lease, for keeps.

  • Amtrak is considering a plan to offer residencies to writers that would allow them to write on their trains during free round-trip rides. The idea is still on the drawing table, but the giddy response from writers predicts that there would be a slew of applications.

  • Who else is giving stuff away? James Patterson is. The author plans to give $1 million to independent bookstores, to use however they like. No word on whether or not it will be broken up into 117 payments. (Yes, that’s a crack about his excessive number of chapters.)


  • The Atlantic ‘s article about writers and procrastination goes beyond the surface, and may even touch a nerve a two. It looks at the psychological reasons behind procrastinating, and why, for writers, it’s “a peculiarly common occupational hazard.”

  • Here’s one for mystery and crime writers: Crime Library examines whether or not one could actually use an icicle to kill a person.


Have you come across any notable book news in your web surfing lately? Are you considering a writer’s residency, or perhaps an icicle murder? Spill it.