One thing I didn’t address in part one, is what if time is a factor. I will say that I like anthologies a lot forhttps://fiyahlitmag.com/ this. (And not just because I’ve been in a few.)
But if that still seems like a lot, Serial Box offers short, episodic stories in both audio and text form. You can usually sample the first free. I have liked their more romancey ones more myself, but there’s a range of options from super heroes to thrillers.
Similarly speculative magazines like Fiyah offer short speculative pieces.
I have great local bookstores, and I check their pages a lot. And hey, even if you don’t live near me, virtual events mean you can pretend like you do.
Loyalty Books, East City Books, One More Page, and Politics and Prose have great events. And book events let you get a sense of the way an author tells stories. See if they are your kind of person. Also there are book clubs. Assigned reading can help you find new authors to glom. (Even if you don't show up for book club. Although the clubs I've been to have all been nice. Show up!)
Also, if you want to catch up on the Date Night series Alyssa Cole has been doing with Loyalty Books, she put a link to her archive in her newsletter here.
Sarah Nicolas has been tracking virtual book events, because of course, it’s not just my fave locals doing it. Her newsletter is here.
With things online this year, there's also been Juneteenth Book Fest, NoVaTeen and others, all went online in various places this year and some of the panels are still available. And I'm a hug fan of course of WriteOnCon. Library of Congress’ National Book Fest is going virtual this year. (Baltimore Book Festival has not yet announced plans for this year, but keep an eye on that too.)
Bookstore Romance Day is tomorrow if you are reading this on Friday the 14th. Some of these panels will get posted to YouTube and other accessible spaces if you are reading this later.
That was a lot. I am tempted to write but wait, there’s more! There is of course. Next time we’ll look at some other pop culture offerings.
But if you are overwhelmed with options right now, pick one thing and see how it goes.