That was before I realized how many book blogs there are. Holy moly. You know how sometimes Time magazine or Newsweek will release a list of the 100 best books of all time? (Or 1001!) Those lists drive me crazy, particularly when I start to tally up how many (i.e., how few) of the books I’ve actually read (and when I remember that I still haven’t read Catch-22). Well, that’s how I felt when I started perusing book blogs. It’s not uncommon for a book blog to feature a blogroll with over 50 blogs, to review new books every day (and these are recreational bloggers, presumably with other full-time jobs and responsibilities), and to receive over 20 comments per post. Figuring out how to navigate this large and active community is a daunting task… but here at The Book Case we’re going to make an earnest effort to try.
As part of an ongoing series, we offer part 1 of “Book Blogs We Love.” In each installation, we’ll give an overview of a few awesome book blogs.
Readers, please give us suggestions!
The Book Lady’s Blog is written by Rebecca, a book seller (and soon-to-be marketing coordinator for a medical company). Recent content includes a guest post from Allison Hoover Bartlett, author of The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, and a diatribe on the self-indulgence of Nicholas Sparks. I also enjoyed the review (with lots of great excerpts) of Michael Chabon’s latest, Manhood for Amateurs.
Technical writer Ti writes Book Chatter. My favorite thing about this blog is the format of reviews, each of which include a blurb from the book’s publisher, a short summary (“the short of it”), and a longer reflection (“the rest of it”). Recent reviews include Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Francine Prose’s Goldengrove.
Erin, who works at a public library, writes A Life in Books. The blog is basically Erin’s reading diary, which I love because of the variety of coverage. At BookPage, we write about what’s being published right now, and it’s refreshing to read about books that have been out for a while (like Hilma Wolitzer’s Summer Reading, which Erin found in a bargain bin at Border’s!). I also like this blog for the conversational tone of its reviews.
Finally, I'll admit that I was inspired to get going on this blog-finding project by Nina Sankovitch, whom I discovered in the New York Times. Nina reads a book a day and writes reviews on her website. At BookPage, we were pretty wowed by Nina's story. I figured that if she can read a book a day, then I can pump up my blog reading.
I may be the last person to hear about this, but a post this morning on Galley Cat caught my eye. There’s a company out there called BookSwim that’s marketing itself as the Netflix of books. For a monthly fee, you can have books (including brand-new hardbacks and textbooks) shipped to your door.
As a devoted library-goer, the site initially left a bad taste in my mouth because of the “Why not just go the library?” section (Answer: late fees, limited hours, limited selections, long waiting lists for popular titles, location). Hmm. I don’t know about that. Even if there is a long wait for new titles, my favorite part of going to the library is browsing the shelves and finding a surprise.
The site also seems to be keeping a close guard on the price of plans. Instead, we get details such as: “Whether you've got our 3 or 5-books-a-month plan, you've got your nose in a book, the wind at your back and the sun upon your face.” After a little digging, I found out that the cheapest plan (1 book at a time) costs $9.95 a month + $3.99 shipping and handling. 3 books at a time is $23.95 (free shipping) and 11 books at a time (“devout reader”) is $59.95.
Seems a bit steep to me, although I won’t knock the company until I hear feedback from someone who’s used their services. With so much new fiction out there this fall, I wouldn’t mind getting a few hardbacks at a discounted price.
Anyone out there tried BookSwim? Is BookSwim going to do for bookstores what Netflix did for Blockbuster?
Media coverage of twitter—which was ubiquitous when they discovered it earlier this year and hasn't let up much since—tends to focus on the sensational. Like Senators caught tweeting during a presidential address. Or celebs using Twitter to to break up. But there's a very interesting literary community out there expressing themselves in 140 characters or less. Including, of course, BookPage (@BookPage). At any moment, booklovers are tweeting out book news and links to articles or blog posts you'll want to read, announcing giveaways or just discussing the latest bestseller.
Excellent newbie guides to Twitter have already been written, so in honor of Follow Friday, after the jump we'll share a few of our favorite tweeters and keywords (aka hashtags) to get you started in the Twitter community. This being the end of a long week I'm sure to have left someone out, so please add to the list—or share your own Twitter name—in the comments!
People/publishers to follow
@Maud Newton (of Maud Newton)
@mikecane (ebook news and opinion)
@RonHogan (of GalleyCat)
@[your favorite author—they're probably on there!]
(enter these into the search field to find every tweet using that tag)
#fridayreads (on Friday afternoons, learn what everyone plans to read over the weekend)
#litchat (afternoon book discussion)
#reading (to see what people are reading anytime)
#tbc (the twitter book club! They're currently reading Zoe Heller's The Believers.)
You can also use hashtags like #bouchercon and #romcon to track current or upcoming book events.