Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Books look at blogs

The NY Review of Books looks at books about blogs. The author of the article, Sarah Boxer, examines "a growing stack of books has pondered the effects of blogs and bloggers on culture ... politics ... on privacy ... on media ... business" I can't recommend any in particular but it's an interesting list. Nothing follows.


Blogger DoubleTapper said...

There are books??? I though we were supposed to read the blogs online.

1/30/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Off topic: Here's an article that discusses how the economy will impact the Presidential election. The article reproduces much of my own thinking and concerns.

McCain's only hope is to portray himself as a conservative AND a maverick. By presenting himself as a maverick, he can say the up-coming economic collapse was due to the "other Republicans" and things will be different under his administration (his vice President selection will be crucial). Unless McCain can make this distinction, Hillary will have it in the bag (she will add fuel to the fire in terms of economic melt down).

1/30/2008 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Villars said...

Sarah Boxer is the nutter who did a hatch job on the brothers blogging at IraqTheModel. From Boxer's article of January 18, 2005 in the New York Times.

"When I telephoned a man named Ali Fadhil in Baghdad last week, I wondered who might answer. A C.I.A. operative? An American posing as an Iraqi? Someone paid by the Defense Department to support the war?"

Real classy leading off with a bunch of silly speculation about these bloggers being CIA agents when Mohammed, Ali and Omar were living in Iraq.

1/30/2008 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Interesting story of a writer becoming a blogger.
Philip Weiss

1/30/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Tom Villars,

Gee I didn't know that. Thanks.

1/30/2008 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Celia Hayes said...

Writers to bloggers? It works the other way around, too. I've blogged for more than five years at the milblog "Sgt. Stryker's Daily Brief" (now just "The Daily Brief") and a long historical essay I did in May 2005 gradually morphed into a novel about a pioneering wagon-train company in 1844. "To Truckee's Trail" (
It's selling here and there, mostly on, but I have about 1,999,850 copies to go before I can buy a castle next door to J.K. Rowlings'.
Still and all, it's out there, in somewhat more permanent form than pixels on a screen.

1/31/2008 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Celia Hayes,

I think writing a long nonfiction or fiction book is a natural next step for many bloggers for two reasons. The first is that daily writing can actually build up skill to the point where a blogger actually becomes capable of writing a full-length. I know some bloggers, for example, who are very intelligent but were halting in composition, mostly because they never wrote much before. Some of them can turn quite a phrase now. A glance around the bookstore shelves will easily show that you don't have to be a Joseph Conrad to write a modern book. Some stuff on the shelves is so bad almost anyone can do better. So some bloggers eventually turn their hand to it.

But the other reason is that blogging has revived the lost art of keeping a diary. Many 19th century public figures wrote copiously to themselves. Think of those eccentric Brits riding to Khiva or stuck on some frontier station with no one they could converse with in English and nowhere to mail a letter. To keep from going nuts they wrote diaries. And later, some turned these diaries into really good works of literature or history. Ironically the Internet has made us as lonely, for other reasons, as those men in some station Back of Beyond. And so we pour our professional musings into a weblog. And by and by we realize we have a book.

1/31/2008 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Celia Hayes said...

"And by and by we realize we have a book"

I had not had the self-discipline to finish anything, until I had nearly four years of blogging under my belt: four years of setting myself a deadline to write three 500-800 word essays a week, no matter what, sharpened my focus to a hard professional gleam, I guess.

And discovering that people actually enjoyed reading my stuff - that I had real fans out there - that was a bit of an eye-opener, too. When one of the regular commenters sent me a box of blank CDs and a request to copy my archives so he could read them at home - that's when I began to think that, omigosh, people will pay me to read my stuff! Just as the internet made some of us lonely, it lets us connect with those of like mind and interests, that we wouldn't have found otherwise.

I am following up "To Truckee's Trail" with a long trilogy about the German settlements in the Texas Hill Country, which one of the fans has dubbed "Barsetshire with Cypress Trees and a Lot of Sidarms" - so, I'd agree that blogging/diary keeping can lead to pretty substantial chunks of writing.

No kidding about a hell of a lot of bad writing out there, some of it POD-published, but a lot of it something that someone actually got an agent and a publishing deal for?! I'm still amazed at the success of "The DaVinci Code" - which I couldn't read, because I kept falling over clunkers of sentances that sounded like entries in the Bulwer-Lytton Bad Writing contest.

1/31/2008 06:30:00 AM  

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