Bit O' Lit Founder Provides Quick Reads Metro riders in Washington, D.C., have a new distraction for their morning commute — Bit 'o Lit, a free commuter 'zine filled with short excerpts from fiction and non-fiction books. Bit o' Lit founder Shannon Macdonald says her mission is to spread her love for books.
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Bit O' Lit Founder Provides Quick Reads

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Bit O' Lit Founder Provides Quick Reads

Bit O' Lit Founder Provides Quick Reads

Bit O' Lit Founder Provides Quick Reads

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Metro riders in Washington, D.C., have a new distraction for their morning commute — Bit 'o Lit, a free commuter 'zine filled with short excerpts from fiction and non-fiction books. Bit o' Lit founder Shannon Macdonald says her mission is to spread her love for books.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Are you hungry for something to read on your morning commute? If you're riding the Metro in Washington, D.C., you would be able to pick up a free copy of Bit o' Lit. The magazine features excerpts from fiction and nonfiction books, usually four to eight pages long. Shannon MacDonald, a former paralegal, started Bit o' Lit about two months ago and she joins us now in the studio. Shannon, welcome.

Ms. SHANNON MACDONALD (Founder, Bit o' Lit): Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: How do you see your mission and what are you trying to do here?

Ms. MACDONALD: The mission is, first and foremost, to make it easier for people to find new books and new authors, that's the core. And also, to get people who maybe otherwise wouldn't have been interested in reading to think about going to the bookstore and picking up a book somewhere, or the library.

WERTHEIMER: You, I take it, read a lot.

Ms. MACDONALD: Yes, I'm a book nut.

WERTHEIMER: How do you - what's a book nut?

Ms. MACDONALD: A book nut is bookworm so - perhaps a little more zealous.

WERTHEIMER: So you're trying to introduce us to something that maybe we haven't read or...

Ms. MACDONALD: Exactly.

WERTHEIMER: Or we haven't heard about or something completely new?

Ms. MACDONALD: Yes. Even with just working on Bit o' Lit myself, I've been quite overwhelmed, and it's just really exciting to learn about some of these new authors and to do so through their writing.

WERTHEIMER: So what books work best for Bit o' Lit?

Ms. MACDONALD: Any book that has the promise of a great story and has great writing.

WERTHEIMER: So how do you locate them?

Ms. MACDONALD: Really, what we do is we tend to contact publishers who have book events coming up, and they've done a really amazing job of giving us high quality material. And when you imagine how many books are published each year and how many books each publisher publishes, it's - they have a lot to choose from, so I've been excited about every excerpt that's been in there so far.

WERTHEIMER: You're doing this in Washington, D.C. Are you tailoring anything to your D.C. market, do you think?

Ms. MACDONALD: I would say at least half of the books in the nonfiction section have been political. Also, I think a lot of them are tailored to an urban commuting audience. You're not going to give them any craft books for the most part, but you are going to give them, perhaps, more books on economics, more books on business, especially with D.C. an international focus for fiction and historical fiction.

WERTHEIMER: Do you think this might have any, you know, you might be able to take it to New York or to any other place that has long commutes?

Ms. MACDONALD: Absolutely. I've definitely thought about all the cities in the United States that could possibly handle Bit o' Lit. If we're going to go name where next it would be New York and then probably Boston.

WERTHEIMER: You have to look at a city that has trains because we can't have people reading books while they're riding in cars.

Ms. MACDONALD: Exactly. Somebody was talking to me about putting it at gas stations and I was like, well, I don't - I'm not sure that would work.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: Shannon MacDonald is the publisher of a little magazine called Bit o' Lit. Thank you for coming in.

Ms. MACDONALD: Thank you so much.

WERTHEIMER: This is NPR News.

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