Ever feel like you’re in a reading rut, browsing through the same sites, bored by the same content?
The internet is supposed to be this vast library of knowledge but finding the good stuff is surprisingly difficult. After all the net doesn’t have a personal librarian to recommend specific articles to you. Doing a google search is fine if you have an idea of what you’re looking for, but Google is useless if you just want to browse for a good read, like what you would do in a bookstore or library.
I tried using Stumbleupon to find reading recommendations but the recommendations were more miss than hit.
So, this is my method for finding good (interesting, well written, thought provoking) reading material on the internet.
I go to the following sites pretty much everyday.
- Aintitcoolnews – For entertainment news. This is mostly news/reviews, not gossip. Sadly not as up to date as it once was.
- Ars Technica – Tech news sprinkled with other related geek topics, hardware/software, copyright, games, national defense. Yes, all of those topics are now related these days.
- Wired – Ditto Ars Technica (I think they’re owned by the same company actually, not sure.)
- Slate – A decidedly liberal slant on US politics and current affairs.
- io9 – Sci-fi news with a sprinkling of tech.
I go to these sites everyday too. Unlike the 5 sites above these 2 do not produce their own content. Instead they go through the net and recommend the essays and articles they find.
Both these sites are personally curated, ie. they do not use algorithms or other automated means of generating article recommendations.
- The Browser – Offers is an interesting mix of fairly highbrow topics such as language, economics, politics, literature, religion and music. The motto of The Browser is “Always be interesting. Never be bored.”
- Next Draft – A wide selection of topical links stitched together with snappy commentary by the blogger. Less scholarly than The Browser, which isn’t a bad thing.
Pocket is a web service which allows you to save pages to any device for offline viewing. It’s a godsend for reading essays/articles from the internet. Usually I’m on my desktop, browsing through the sites above, saving the articles I want to read to Pocket then I read them later on my tablet or phone while I’m lounging around on the sofa or in bed.
A lot of the articles are long so sitting at your desktop reading through all of them can become tedious. A more natural and enjoyable way to read is while lazing about, untethered to the desktop. Pocket allows you to do that for the reading material you’ve found online.
I also use Pocket in conjunction with If this then that to push new comic strips to my Pocket feed every day. So in addition to all of my saved articles I have Foxtrot, Dilbert, Penny Arcade, Sin Fest, Hark a Vagrant and Pearls Before Swine, delivered to my device every day.
Pocket also has a relatively new (started last Aug 2015) Recommendations page where it tries to figure out what you like to read (based on the articles you’ve saved and other feedback you’ve given) and suggests articles based on what other people who seem to share your interests have also saved to their Pockets.
Pocket’s recommendations are interesting and I do read through a lot of them. The site has to do a better job though of cross referencing your saved items and your recommendations list as it has happened many times that I’ve already saved an article to my Pocket feed only to find it again in my recommendations list.
Yes, I’m a big Pocket fan. It’s a simple to use web service which allows me to read a ton of articles in a comfortable and leisurely manner.
I occasionally recommend articles as well through Pocket. My suggestions are not as smart as The Browser nor as funny as Next Draft. With that warning, if you swant my list of shared articles, you can follow me on Pocket.