A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
Well I *was* (I promise! I promise!) going to bring you a rather fine and thoughtful book review on the latest tome I’ve been reading…But having been up with the lurgy all night the book remains only three quarters finished so that pleasure will have to wait for another day. So, instead, I have for you a little round-up of book articles and blog pieces that have caught my eye.
We used to do a book round-up quite regularly on Vulpes but somehow got out the habit a while ago. I enjoyed visiting some old regulars for this – the always interesting and well-written Booklit. The mix of review and personality of favourites like Lizzie Siddall and DoveGreyReader. But as I quested through some of our old friends I also noticed quite a few blogs were resting or occasionally discontinued, which was a little sad. Keeping a blog going is a big commitment. A big, silly, irrational, pointless, time-consuming commitment that gives you no money or recompense for all that blood, sweat and tears. Everything has its lifespan and perhaps some bloggers eventually run out of that time and energy – life gets in the way or they suddenly find themselves going through a reading dry patch. How do you keep it interesting and moving forward and challenging?
We have a lot of discussions about these issues on VL. And I think largely the community aspect of this very strange and eclectic bunch of opinionated eccentrics is what holds us all together. I know I will always get intelligent thoughts and interaction from my Vulpine colleagues. And even when overtaken by busyness and lack of time, I am loath to give that up.
But, as we move forward years down the line, we do need to think about ways of keeping things fresh and vital and interesting to ourselves. The world of books is changing. How do blogs reflect this? What seemed fresh and new a few years ago is already seeming tired and old-hat. Technology continues apace and just as mainstream publishers creep into the 21st century and start to acknowledge blogs in a big way – those early-adopters and movers and shakers are already claiming the blog is dead – killed off by Twitter and other social media. Is this true?
We are constantly told about the fast and furious net culture. People have no attention span, we’re told. One sentence is enough. It is a place of quick opinions and knee-jerk reactions – but print is where you find the contemplative stuff.
I’m not so sure. Book blogs have brought the long review – even the essay – into prominence. If there is one thing that is cheap on the internet it is space. This hasn’t been acknowledged enough and opens out a whole range of exciting possibilities. But time – now, there’s the rub. Where to find the constant, regular time any blog, let alone a thoughtful, considered blog, requires?
I am sad to see blogs folding. And I hope we can refresh ourselves so that we can respond and keep things interesting into the future. I wonder how other bloggers are thinking about and responding to that challenge.
Well, enough musings from me. I hope this ramble will, at least, provide a kick to myself to get a bit more creative and challenge myself a bit more. To explore themes and ideas here that are important to me – and throw them out there for others to think about and throw ideas back. Because that – at the end of the day – is what this is all about.
Right. And so to the links…
On a valentine’s day front I couldn’t resist this gorgeous selection of love letters, although the first – from Henry VIII to the woman he would later order to be decapitated, sent shivers down my spine:
Continuing the war of the sexes, it seems both male and female writers are trying to claim they have a tougher time in this article from the Guardian:
On the demise of chicklit (aren’t we always being told of its imminent demise? How long can a demise last, I wonder?):
Women couldn’t get enough of “chick lit” like “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Sex and the City” and “Confessions of a Shopaholic.” Encouraged by sales, many publishers launched imprints solely for the literary confections.
Then chick lit disappeared faster than Mr. Wrong the morning after. What happened? Did readers fall out of love with these books? Was the market oversaturated with chick lit? Or did those damn vampire books suck the life out of it? http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/feb/11/the-decline-of-chick-lit/
Although I imagine this lot at the Romantic Novelists Association wouldn’t agree as they announce the 2012 shortlist:
Other Book News
Another war – of the bookseller variety this time in a piece summing up much of the changes going on at the moment:
The age-old debate about what we do with problematic depictions in books from other eras raises its head as a campaigner tries to get Tintin in the Congo banned for being racist:
On a lighter note, I couldn’t resist this piece on Hatchet Job of the Year. There really should be a blog prize for this!
And my blogs round-up:
A terrific review from Booklit on This is Not a Novel by David Markson: http://booklit.com/blog/2010/06/22/david-markson-this-is-not-a-novel/
Dovegreyreader writes movingly about the taken too soon Angela Carter and the pleasure and opportunities that come with being in your fifties: http://dovegreyreader.typepad.com/dovegreyreader_scribbles/2012/02/angela-carter-.html
And to cheer everyone up in these difficult economic times – Clive James reminds us of the upside of authors being remaindered (just so long as it’s somebody else) http://lizzysiddal.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-book-of-my-enemy-has-been-remaindered-clive-james/
And lastly, because I couldn’t resist this, and because it reminds me of illicit viewing with my mates as a kid – Litlove muses on Dallas, Dynasty and the Moldovian massacre. Even the pictures of Joan Collins and Linda Evans launching into a catfight made me smile. http://litlove.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/sunday-mishmash-2/
ENJOY and remember to pay a visit to all those fantastic blogs in our sidebar.