Shouting Out

I’ve been toying with the idea of running another blog, one that provides a way of putting people in touch with the kind of blogs they most like to read and that celebrates the richness of our book blogging community. The idea at the moment is that it would be a kind of sorting house, much in the way that students arriving at Hogwarts are sorted into the Gryffindors and Slytherins and so on. It was tempting to use Hogwarts categorizations but I think we may need more than four. I was considering six:

Blogs that do just book reviews
Blogs whose authors have some academic or intellectual leanings
Blogs that are writer blogs with bookish interest
Blogs that post mostly short reviews
Blogs that post a real mix of stuff that is nevertheless book-related
Blogs that post reviews plus personal pieces

The idea is to have a link for each of these categories that will take you to a permanent page and bloggers sign themselves up to whichever category suits them best, including a couple of lines of description of their site and a link to a favourite/exemplary post.

Then it might be possible to run other things on the blog, the occasional carnival, featured bloggers, guest posts and maybe a fairly regular discussion on hot blogworld topics.

But I am just thinking about this at the moment and would welcome suggestions and ideas, particularly for the categories which are a nightmare to decide upon. I won’t be getting this up and running before the Christmas vacation so there’s plenty of time to work out what would be most useful.

In the meantime, here’s a shout-out to some parts of the blogworld that have particularly impressed me lately.

The Writers:

Comes The Dervish wrote perhaps the best post ever. I’m all about finding new ways to discuss books and he deserves a medal for the creativity and invention in this one.

Baker’s Daughter Writes is a recent discovery for me and I’ve yet to read a post I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. The quality of the writing is just stunning.

The Blog:

Changing Lives Changing Minds – I just love these people, and everything they do and everything they stand for. It’s a collective blog written by people using literature to help and support criminal offenders, who have to study books as a condition of their probation. An early study showed that those who completed their program were far less likely to re-offend. Some of the posts are by the teachers, some by the students. Way to go, I say.

The Online Literary Magazine:

I’m probably the last person in the blog world to catch up with Open Letters, but isn’t it fantastic? Monthly publication and stacked full of brilliant essays. I particularly enjoyed this account of Elizabeth Smart’s novella By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept. Again, more hope for me that literary criticism is in transition from the complex texts of the university enclaves to sensitive and insightful readings that can be enjoyed by anyone who loves reading.

25 thoughts on “Shouting Out

  1. Sounds a great idea! There needs to be a place for bloggers to easily share their blogs. What guidleines would a blogger have to follow to qualify, to have their site featured on the list?

  2. Thanks so much for adding hours upon hours of reading to my computer time 😉
    You are not the last person to discover Open Letters…that prize goes to me. I could spend all day on this site just catching up.

  3. What an absolutely brilliant idea! Count me in, Litlove. I know I’d be one of those bloggers that are nightmarish to categorise …

    I don’t have any suggestions as yet, but if you would like some organisation assistance/support, let me know.

  4. I think this is a fantastic idea and would be so helpful, because you could drop in and find the kind of bloggers you’re interested in right away. Would you vet bloggers to make sure they were real/check they’d signed up for the right category? I can see that being a bit of a time suck, so you might want to grab volunteers for each category to help you out if you decide to vet submissions.

    Writer blogs would be the most difficult to split down and could probably do with subsections – maybe writers primarily handing out writing advice, writers who review books quite often and writers who mostly write about their ongoing projects? Not to complicate things but what about publishing blogs that might be interesting to book lovers (although you could end up with a whole heap of promotional blogs in there, searching through for the gems).

  5. This is a great idea, litlove. I’m wending my way through book blogs to meet others who are enthusiastic about reading and something like this to guide a “wender” would be wonderful.
    By the way, I visited Baker’s Daughter on your recommendation and love her blog. Excellent writing indeed! Thanks for passing her on.

  6. I think this is a great, and very generous idea! (would I squeeze into the last category, even though I don’t post book reviews very often?)

    The ‘occasional blog carnivals’ is too. I’ve just been inspired to write my first proper, lengthy book review for ages for the forthcoming first edition of a ‘language and place’ blog carnival (which I’ll be shouting about when the first one goes up later this month). It was great to have this inspiration and the lure of potential new contacts and readers, whilst not as demanding as a more actively collaborative project.

  7. Hmm. I’ve just been scanning back over the past few months and, no, I clearly wouldn’t qualify – I spend such a lot of my time reading, I guess I FEEL as if I must write a lot about books, but actually I hardly ever do! Perhaps this would motivate me to write more, so that I could take part. Whether it does or not, I should enjoy exploring the blogs listed, anyway.

  8. Wonderful idea. I know I am missing out on wonderful writing because my online time is limited and where do you start when you know you want something specific, but how to find it? This would be a great place to start. Thanks also for the links–have only taken a peek but am looking forward to exploring them more!

  9. Yay! I’m so glad that you think this might be useful. I’ll respond individually to comments tomorrow, but YES PLEASE if anyone fancies lending a hand. I’d love that!

  10. I love Stefanie’s comment 🙂
    Seriously, this is such a good idea. I don’t have any suggestions right now but I’m really looking forward to seeing the new blog!

  11. Oh, good for you, trying to come up with solutions to all those questions you recently posed! I have no idea how to categorize myself: blogger who misleads by the title of her blog but is addicted to books? Still, I want to be a part of it all. I, too, recently discovered Baker’s Daughter Writes. So happy that I can still discover new blogs and that you will be doing what you can to make that happen more frequently.

  12. I love the idea, but my problem would be that I would read blogs from all the categories you list. I prefer to read blogs written by people who share a reading taste with me and don’t mind whether they write short/long reviews or sprinkle in personal posts. I would find it more useful if blogs could be divided on reading taste. I would instantly follow anyone who stated their favourite authors were Saramago and Murakami, but probably avoid blogs who are in love with James Joyce or Stephenie Meyer. Sorry that isn’t very helpful, but on a positive note I think I’d love browsing a list of blogs however they are arranged. 🙂

  13. I think it’s very very hard (I almost wrote impossible) to categorize blogs. I’ll use my blog as an example: I don’t really consider my responses to my current reading to be “reviews.” They usually are not short. But I consider myself a writer because I write a blog and I love to write about literature, however I’m not a “writer” in the sense you mean, I’m sure. And while I studied English in college and would like to consider my blog an intellectual response to the books I read, I am doing it just for fun and I don’t always write academic responses nor do I completely intend to. So I don’t really fit in any category above, and I think most blogs I read would be likewise be a challenge to put in a category.

    I think finding blogs that fit ones preferences takes time browsing, commenting, and just plain blogging experience.

    That said, if people find a database like that helpful, what’s stopping you?! Go for it.

  14. I would definitely take a flyer on this idea!! It’s super. And I stumbled on bakersdaughterwrites as well, although I can’t remember how. I think maybe followed a comment on someone’s blog. I agree with you absolutely; she’s worth the read.

  15. Spangle – Thank you! I think they’d only have to post regularly. And that doesn’t mean often, just regularly. There’s nothing worse than a catalogue full of dead links. Other than that, it would be about bloggers finding a category they feel at least vaguely comfortable in and leaving a little note about their blog there.

    Patti – you’re welcome! I wonder why I do these things to myself, too! So glad you love Open Letters. I was just blown away by the quality of writing there and how interesting it all was.

    Charlotte – what a star you are. I’d love to be doing this with your help; it looks better already.

    Jodie – you are brilliant. Yes, to all those things. A blogger for each section would be great, subsections will probably be needed, and I should think it’s possible to do a sticky post for publisher blogs. There aren’t so very many publishers in the UK – I expect there are only a few really large publishers in America, too.

    Melissa – that’s exactly the idea – blogger as wanderer, but with a few pathways in the wilderness. I can’t crack the problem of finding blogs that are just ideal, but we can promote ourselves a bit, get to know a few more people and hopefully have some fun in a community environment. So glad you like Baker’s Daughter too!

    Stefanie – hah, I now have to think of how to blackmail you into helping… 😉

    Lilian – bless you, I do so appreciate your support. Nothing is ever perfect, so the only thing I can think is to leave the categories a bit rough and ready. We’ll see how it all goes.

    Jean – my feeling is that if we put ‘creative blogs with an interest in books’, not just writer blogs, that might work for you. But I loved the review you wrote just the other day and would be delighted to see you writing more! And yes, carnivals are always a great way of providing community topics and encouraging people to get together, without there being too much work for the organisers!

    Kristi – thank you! So pleased you like the idea.

    Danielle – it is so hard to find what you’re looking for online. This won’t solve the problem, but it might be a place to start. And hopefully it would be fun for us all to have another community stop-off point. I don’t often do links and I should promote other blogs more often. It feels nice to do (and you are often great at giving a shout-out to a blogger who’s led you to a good book, for instance!).

  16. ilian – that Stefanie, she always makes me laugh! Very glad you like the idea – I’m sure I’ll be pestering everyone again in a bit for more help, so your moment may come!

    Becca – aww you are too kind. I’ve decided I don’t link enough to other bloggers and should try to make a point of doing so every now and then!

    Emily – I have this rule that you can moan about something, no problem, perfectly necessary, but then you ought really to think if there’s anything you can practically do about it. I’d categorise you as a writer blog with bookish interest, I think. Or the last one, reviews plus personal pieces. But really it would be about people choosing a category they felt comfortable with, so it wouldn’t be up to me. You absolutely do have to be a part of it, though, that’s for sure. 🙂

    Jackie – yes, I can quite see that. I couldn’t organise blogs by reading preferences as that might become infinite. But I do like the idea of bloggers offering up a few of their favourite authors as part of the information they put forward about their blogs. Because you’re quite right – for a lot of people it’s about reading up in certain areas (I guess firefly’s book blog author search is the most useful tool we have available for that right now – and it is a great thing to have).

    Rebecca – well, the first thing to say is that bloggers would take part by choosing which category best applied to them, and if none did, then they would be at perfect liberty not to participate. I don’t pretend to solve the problem of blog categorisation here, or indeed the problem of finding blogs to love. But it’s a way for people to promote their writing, and to meet others and make friends and to generally celebrate our community, and hopefully it would be fun for those who wanted to take part. Really, I’ve no intention of attempting to split the atom, just to offer up another community space for those interested in visiting it.

    Baker’s Daughter – you’re very welcome and have a very happy birthday! By coincidence it’s my son’s birthday today – clearly a fine and special date. 🙂

    Nymeth – yay! And yes, Jodie’s thoughts were fantastic.

    Grad – so glad you like it! And also so glad you like Baker’s Daughter. We are clearly on the same wavelength. 🙂

  17. I am also enjoying the new (and delightfully shared!) discovery of Baker’s Daughter Writes – and how I love these improbable cross-connections. Intimate vastness – that’s the blogosphere to me.

    A great idea, LL – although I fear I too would be a nightmare to categorise. It sounds like a pretty large undertaking, though – where do you find your extra hours…?!

  18. Great idea, LL. Perhaps you (or we) could call it The Sorting Hat (or The Clearing House) or something more inspired. I like the hat because of the Harry Potter reference. And when I first read this I wondered how on earth you would find the time to run it. But of course the answer is: delegation. I am exempt of course for the next while (being on deployment duty) but am happy to help out if and where necessary!

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