Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Oh no! Not my opinion!

Last week's absence was unplanned, but I seem to be getting back into the swing of things again. I find that I go through moods where my books (and life!) consume me much more than blogging. I take that as a healthy sign. :) Of course, there's nothing like another attack aimed at book bloggers to get me back to the keyboard!

Lissa Warren, from The Huffington Post, seems to be jumping on the band wagon in criticizing bloggers for...blogging. In her post, Will Blogs Save Books, she makes the claim that blog reviewers are writing about the wrong thing, focusing instead on self-indulgent drivel:
Well, I think book reviews on blogs -- particularly those of the Blogspot variety -- tend to be self-indulgent. Book reviewing bloggers need to move away fromopinion in favor of judgment. How does the book compare to -- and fit in with -- the author's previous work? What's the book's place in the genre? The canon? Does the writer succeed in doing what he or she set out to do -- meaning, is it the book they meant it to be? Whether it's the book the blogger wanted it to be is of much less importance to me, frankly.
Her complaint is exactly what she rails against...her opinion. And opinion is main reason I read blogs. I want to know what other people think about a book. I like to discuss the novel I just read with others, I find the personal interaction stimulating. In my opinion, I am glad that many bloggers generally stay away from some of the above topics. If I want to know how a book fits in with its genre or canon, I'll go to a book or magazine of literary analysis and criticism. But that's not what I'm looking for here. 

One thing her article did was cause me to really think about why I blog. In case you are wondering, this is what I came up with:
1. It's a hobby that I really enjoy.
2. I find it adds another level to my reading, and I now tend to retain more from the books I read.
3. I love reading the opinions of other bloggers who have read the same books.
4. I love discovering new books through other bloggers reviews and discussions.
5. I find the book blog community contains a wonderful group of very interesting, intelligent, kind people! It's great to be a small cog in this little world.

I do not blog because I want to be a professional book reviewer. I do not want to upstage newspaper book reviewers.

There are quite a few other wonderful comments out there in reaction to this article. Check out book-a-rama, caribousmom, minds alive on the shelves for further discussion.

I have also been tagged by seachanges for the six quirky things about me meme.

The rules are: 
  • Link to the person who tagged me
  • Mention the rules
  • Tell six quirky but unspectacular details about myself
  • Tag six other bloggers by linking to them
  • Go to each person's blog and let them know they are tagged
Some of my quirks are:
1. I am very particular about how I drink my tea. Some I drink with milk and sugar (ceylon, chai). others with honey (lemon tea, chamomile), and still others with no additions (most herbal teas, green tea, and white tea). With the exception of black teas, almost all my tea is loose leaf.
2. I almost always only read one book at a time.
3. I have a weakness for gossip blogs like pink is the new blog which completely contradicts my personality.
4. I spend most mornings going on mini-hikes or bike rides with my daughter.
5. I rarely watch tv, sticking mainly to an occasional The Daily Show and Lost. The rare times I turn on the tv randomly, I have a strange addiction to Law & Order and CSI (the Las Vegas version only).
6. One of my favorite hobbies which I rarely get to indulge at the moment is traveling to other countries.

Because Maya is almost out of patient, instead of tagging six people, everyone reading this can consider themselves tagged!

And finally, I've realized that I am quickly finishing quite a few of the challenges I signed up for this year (with a few I have failed miserably and all but given up on). So, I am looking for some new ones. I have ignored almost all new challenge posts over recent months, so I don't know what's currently out there. So, in your opinion, what are some of the most exciting challenges that have just started, or will start in the next month or so?


Eva said...

I've been avoiding new challenges too, with grad school looming on the horizon, but the classics challenge just started and I'm excited about that one! The info is at:

Lissa Warren doesn't really understand what book blogging is about, obviously. It's about a shared love of books and reading-that's why we talk about how we got the book, what kinds of associations it has, etc. Silly girl-she should lighten up a little! :)

Eva said...

Forgot to add: I think most authors would rather have a gushy, opinion-based review by a blogger with 'standing' in the community than a detailed analysis of how their book fits into the wider genre.

Nyssaneala said...

Eva - Thanks for the Classics challenge link. That looks like a good one.

I've heard some people describe blogs as the new chat group. It's an interesting comparison.