Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hmm...a book about blogs


I recently heard a story on NPR about a new book about blogs, edited by Sarah Boxer. It’s called Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web. I had what must be a typical reaction, because even the NPR interviewer mentioned it--her opening question in the printed article is, "Isn't an old-school paper book about blogs sort of self-defeating?"

I got more interested in the piece when Boxer started talking about a tone that is particular to blogging--personal, open, fierce, and yes, often nasty. In the radio piece, she used the word “snarky”. Not all blogs are snarky, I said to the radio. Okay, I do read snarky blogs—in fact, one from the book's list is one I check all the time—Go Fug Yourself, the snarkiest blog I know, about what celebrities are mis-wearing on the red carpets (and yes, I'm addicted).

Now, the tone thing wasn't a criticism; it was something she liked and respected about blogs, something that distinguished blogs from other writing. And I personally like that bloggers are fierce. But we all know that lit blogs are the opposite of snarky, if there’s such a thing. They are respectful, and kind. They recognize that writers work hard on their books, and when they dismiss something, it’s with cause. And they are so darned nice to each other. I feel very comfortable among them.

The article did mention another blog whose address I thought I'd pass along to you. It's called The Diary of Samuel Pepys, and yes, it is Pepys' diary, served in its daily chunks, and it's pretty cool.

And speaking of snarky, isn't the cover of Ultimate Blogs one of the least creative and least interesting covers you've seen in awhile?

8 comments:

litlove said...

Ha - I had to laugh about that cover, you are SO right!

And yes, book bloggers are the most delightful, polite and charming people I know. Even the critical ones are perfectly reasonable!

Iliana said...

Oh I heard that story too and I'll fess up as well, I love Go Fug Yourself. Most of the blogs I read are book blogs but when I venture out that is one of my favorites. Have you ever read Snarkywood? They stopped updating a while back but it was hilarious - very similar to Go Fug Yourself. I would like to see the book just because I'm curious about which blogs made it on to their masterworks list but I'd probably have missed it if you hadn't shown us the cover. Eek.

Maggie said...

You just reminded me, there is a book out on book bloggers I've been meaning to purchase.

I happen to think book bloggers less snarky and more sassy. We don't like it, we needn't hide our true feelings in underhanded remarks. We just say it as fact and with a little grace. It may take me 30 minutes or eight hours to write one article. Think of a whole book! I wouldn't want to rain on all that hard work! :0

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--Re: the cover, I just had to add a little snark. But generally, aren't we book bloggers charming? I think so, too!

iliana--I'm glad I'm not the only one who counts Go Fug Yourself among their guilty pleasures :) I'll have to check out Snarkywood. And if you check out the NPR link about the Ultimate Blog book, they have a list of maybe 20 of the editor's pick of blogs, which was interesting, and maybe easier to take than a whole book on the subject :)

maggie--I'll have to look for the book blogger book. And I like your word--sassy! I'm going to call myself a sassy book blogger from now on!

heather (errantdreams) said...

I'd think the concept would be self-defeating simply because blogs change so quickly that the book would go out of date rather fast.

I like both snarky and nice blogs. I definitely tend to review on the nice side because I know the kind of work that goes into writing and how it feels to be slammed, but I have once or twice gotten snarky when I read something that struck me as SO bad that I couldn't stand it.

Matt said...

Recently I have a conversation with a friend, who thinks blogs are usually just mindless ravings and venting until he has read my blog *blush* and some of the links to fellow book bloggers. He's thrilled, I mean, positively impressed. I find book bloggers very straight forward and can be a bit snobbish with our readings--but who isn't snobbish in his/her own little way? Expectation is momentum for improvement. I certainly count on fellow book bloggers for pointers to good reads, more so than book critic on papers.

Gentle Reader said...

heather--I agree. I review the same way--I try very hard not to get snarky, unless I'm truly offended by something!

matt--I'm glad we book bloggers have impressed someone! And I also count on book bloggers for recommendations, much more than on any other resource these days :)

Sports Picks said...

Oh I heard that story too and I'll fess up as well, I love Go Fug Yourself. Most of the blogs I read are book blogs but when I venture out that is one of my favorites. Have you ever read Snarkywood? They stopped updating a while back but it was hilarious - very similar to Go Fug Yourself. I would like to see the book just because I'm curious about which blogs made it on to their masterworks list but I'd probably have missed it if you hadn't shown us the cover.