The OF Blog: Ideas comtemplated, ideas abandoned

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ideas comtemplated, ideas abandoned

So it is Labor Day. While doubtless many are thinking of cookouts and barbecue, I am contemplating how much long I can delay grading student papers that I want to hand back tomorrow. I have roughly 250 said papers to grade, so needless to say, this will take up much of my evening (along with watching my beloved Vols play). But despite this looming deadline, I thought I'd share a few ideas that have come to mind, some of which I realized almost immediately were implausible:

1. Establish a sort of blogger "book club" - While the idea of herding cats might be daunting to some, I have wondered what would happen if a group of say 3-10 bloggers agreed to read and write a brief report of a book every month or two, say one that wasn't published in the past year or so. And what if said project led to questions and comments from the participants and readers on all of these blogs, with links of course to said discussions? Probably would give quite a bit of perspective for readers of various blogs to consider, no, besides raising awareness of the newer blogs?

2. Doing more author interviews - This is something that sucks up a lot of time and energy, as previous interviews I've done involve many "rounds" of emails, sometimes hours devoted just to thinking of the "right" questions to ask, among other matters. I want to resume it on an occasional basis to highlight the authors I believe deserve more attention (I don't believe I've ever participated in an interview where the author and/or publisher sought me out first).

3. Having occasional "guest blogging" - This is an idea I've resisted quite a bit and I still highly doubt I'd do it, largely because this blog has a bit of an "identity" now and I don't know if I can justify to myself having anything more than the once in a blue moon post by anyone not already approved for posting here. That being said, I might occasionally email certain people and ask them to write a short something that would then be posted here, provided that it would be of interest to myself and to others reading this blog.

4. Abandoning formal book reviews here - I haven't written a formal one since late June and until I have the time again to devote the hours necessary for writing one, it might be a while. Then again, I do want to cover the World Fantasy Awards like I did last year, so maybe I'll resume doing regular reviews of 1000-1500 words in a month or so.

5. Advertising - Uh....HELL NO!

6. Ending this post on a rather "imperfect," if not "Satanic" note - just for those of you who were curious about that previous post of mine a few weeks ago regarding six being an "imperfect" number in certain religious traditions...


Jonathan M said...

Hi Larry :-)

I agree about 1. I really regret the fact that so many of us are locked into the hype cycle and tend to write more about recent books (though you've really escaped that with all of your great Borges stuff) so I think it would be a great idea to re-examine certain older works as a group.

Niall has done good stuff with this over on Torque Control with the group discussions of certain books.

So count me in if you're up for doing that.

Larry said...

Yeah, I followed his posts about Stephenson's Quicksilver a few months ago and if I had had the time then to read it, I would have joined in. In fact, it was a combination of his post, the old Lit Blog Co-Op threads, and what I help lead on occasion at wotmania that occurred to me when I was thinking about doing something like this. If others are interested, we can then pick someone to choose the first book, set a time a month or so away for reading/blogging about it, and then rotate the selecting duty for the next times.

Charles said...

The biggest difficulty for #1 probably would be securing a copy of said book (at least for those of us who don't have feasible access to online stores).

For #2, I think doing interviews by email is different artform from which no one has really done a "handbook" on. (We should trade notes one of these days.)

Larry said...

Quite true, Charles, which is part of the reason why I thought covering less recent books might work on occasion (say something "big" like Alan Moore's Watchmen, for example), especially if it would increase the odds for non Anglo-American readers being able to acquire the book.

As for conducting email interviews, I think ultimately it's a "personal" preference thing, depending what the interviewer and interviewee agree upon.

Dark Wolf said...

Making interviews can be hell of a job. I loose a great deal of time thinking of the right questions, a lot more than it takes me to make a review. And I can do them only by mail for now. And I hate when I forget a question or it comes to mind later on.

About 1, I think that's an intresting idea, because it gives a greater view of the book in question. It is like a talk-show or a round table with the book in question as subject :)

LisaMM said...

Hi Larry, I agree author interviews can take a considerable amount of time. I love the book club idea.

I looked around to see if I could find an email address for you but couldn't- I wonder if you could send me an email at lisamunleyATcaDOTrrDOTcom. I have a question for you.

fábio said...

Larry, I´m with you on the book club idea. Count me in.

Joe Sherry said...

I'm interested in the Book Club idea. I've tried to get into various online book clubs via forums and for whatever reason they never clicked for me, but keeping the clubs blog-centric with commenting and linking of various reviews seems to me that it might work out a bit better (for me, anyway).

So, given that we're looking at slightly older books, I think I'm in, too. I'm willing to give it a shot, at least.

Anonymous said...

I'm neither a blogger nor a reviewer, but I do love reading book reviews and discussion. This sound right up my alley

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm Mary C

Larry said...

Hrmm...I guess I'll have to go ahead and start this blogger book club, huh? ;)

Lisa, I'll send you an email later tonight if I have time. I'm on my school laptop now and don't have access to my "regular" account, although my email address should have been visible in my Blogger profile.

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