My SCRAPBOOK (సేకరణలు): A COLLECTION of articles in English and Telugu(తెలుగు), from various sources, on varied subjects. I do not claim credit for any of the contents of these postings as my own.A student's declaration made at the end of his answer paper, holds good to the articles here too:"I hereby declare that the answers written above are true to the best of my friend's knowledge and I claim no responsibility whatsoever of the correctness of the answers."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The bookaholic blogger

Social networking or book blogs? Read on to catch the action. PRADEEP SEBSTIAN


“The Bookaholic Blogger’or“Bookish Blogs” or“The Literary Blogsphere”Facebook or book blogs? Take your pick. For me, it’s no contest: the bookish blog goes where Facebook dares not. The literary blogsphere is made up of blogs by writers (where an author such as Jeanette Winterson will confess to throwing rubber paperweights at her cats when stuck for a word) literary magazines, publishers, and reader’s blogs (where all the interactive action happens). The reader’s blog (that is, a blog by you or me) seems to me a more public version of the marginalia we make in books – scribbles on the side of the page about what we feel.

That’s where the true action is: a community of readers blogging about what they’re reading that week. Did I just write reading? Change that to reviewing. It’s changed the insular world of book reviewing. The reader’s blog now decides what’s worth reading. Since the blogger doesn’t have to go through editors or publishers, a wide range of books are discussed. It also means there’s no quality control on the writing, and there’s no guarantee that a book a blogger recommends is worth your trouble. But, as most blog readers will tell you, many a time blogs by general readers and journalists seem more interesting than those by professional critics and writers. There are now hundreds of book blogs now, constantly shifting shape. To help us navigate the literary blogsphere comes a timely book, “The Bookaholics Guide to Book Blogs” by Rebecca Gillieron and Catheryn Kilgarriff. The book is a fine attempt at, shall I say, blogroll? A handy overview of the best blogs out there. It disappoints us by not mentioning book blogs from India.

I’d like to mention a few noteworthy Indian bloggers. The writer Amitava Kumar’s literary blog, for instance, is consistently interesting for the way it blends culture, politics and art with literature. The layout is easy on the eyes and the accompanying images are always striking. The other notable Indian blogs I’d include are: Kitabkhana, Sepia Mutiny, Amardeep Singh, India Uncut, and Indian Writing. There are several more, but I’ll let you discover them on your own. Part of the great fun of reading blogs is how one blog opens out to another. The U.K. and U.S. blogs/weblogs/literary forums are more comprehensively represented in the Guide, staring with the best-known ones (Maud Newton, Booklust, Bookslut, Bookninja, Literary Saloon, Salon, Jeanette Winterson, Toby Litt, Galley Cat) and moving on to more obscure but noteworthy blogs. The Guide quotes chunks of blog text to showcase the style and concerns of a particular blogger. It shows you how, even though there are myriad blogs competing for your attention, you can use the book to locate the exact blog(s) that will appeal to you. The best bloggers, according to the editors, “are the ones who have no motive other than to share their love of books with other readers”.

(The Hindu, Nxg, 22:05:2008)




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