It’s Thursday… time to get a little ahead of the game…

First, apologies.  Last week was a bit light on new posts.  This week should be closer to normal (as long as I can get my WordPress App for Blackberry to work).

In the meantime, I’ve become a bit obsessed with the new Huffington Post Books page. Has anyone else taken the time to look it over?  I haven’t quite figured out what is going on over there, other than a whole lot of marketing, people complaining about the publishing industry, etc.  Finding an actual review is a bit of a challenge.  In the end, I’m sorry to say it’s not providing me with anything I feel I NEED to know.  The layout and tone of the articles comes across more frenetic than informative.

But I like the Huffington Post and the ideas behind it.  There must be good content in there and downloading the iGoogle gadget to my homepage may make it easier to find.  It could be a matter of adapting to the media.  For now, I still prefer browsing the websites connected to the traditional review journals – The New York Times Sunday Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, even Huffington’s own New York Review of Books.

So, here’s where I ask everyone else what they think.  If you haven’t visited the site yet, here’s a link straight to The Huffington Post Books Section.  Look around and come back and post a comment.  If you find an article you liked, link it.

I’ll be reading the sample of In Praise of Slowness that I downloaded onto my Kindle. It’s the inaugeral selection of Arianna Huffington’s new book club.

The National Book Award… honest, we have a National book award… they have a website…

It happened again. The National Book Award released a list of finalists and I completely missed it. Fortunately, The Huffington Post was on the ball, so check out the link at the end of this post.

I really wish this prize was better marketed. They even tried to jazz it up this year for the 60th Anniversary by allowing readers to vote for the best of the best. But where are the cardboard media stands in stores displaying the choices and encouraging you to “Vote for the Best of the National Book Awards Fiction!”? Or the feature tables – don’t those big box bookstores live for feature tables? At the very least someone should have picked up the phone and called Oprah!

Here are the Fiction Nominees:

  • Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage
  • Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin
  • Daniyal Mueenuddin, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
  • Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite
  • Marcel Theroux, Far North

And Non-Fiction:

  • David M. Carroll, Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook
  • Sean B. Carroll, Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species
  • Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City
  • Adrienne Mayor, The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy
  • T. J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

Sadly, the only one of the current nominees I’ve read is Sean B. Carroll’s Remarkable Creatures which I reviewed back in July.  Good book, but award-winning?  I’m not sure.

There are also categories for Poetry and Young Adult.

And here’s a link, as promised, to the poll being run by the Huffington Post.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! – and here is what I’ve been up to:

I posted A Discussion of Two Novels by Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake & The Year of the Flood.  It’s a discussion, rather than a review, because I tried to keep the focus on the narrative techniques & away from any major plot points.   So much of the fun of reading these novels comes out of piecing the stories together. To give too much away would ruin the genius of the books.  Both are fabulous reads and I hope I was able to do them justice.

Pauline Melville had an article up in the Guardian UK with her Top 10 list of revolutionary tales.  I posted an excerpt that provides some interesting insight to her latest novel.  Which led me to ask: “How much you want to know about the book you’re reading?  There’s a poll up – so please check it out and let me know your thoughts.

As part of Arianna Huffington’s evil plan for complete global domination:  The Huffington Post has a new Books section (and it’s about time!).  There’s a nifty feature where a blogger can automatically have comments they make to an article posted directly to their blog.  I did a little test run with Beth Kephart’s article on the new FTC Guidelines, entitled Do Book Bloggers Make a Difference?.

I also finished Saint Peter’s Fair, my first book in the Brother Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters, and have started The Virgin in the Ice.  Since finding these books is hit and miss, I’m reading them completely out of order.  It would be ridiculous to try to finish the series before reviewing it, so I’ll be posting my opinion of the series so far in the next day or so. I’ve just received Into Great Silence from Netflix, a documentary on a French Monastery.  I love when everything falls into place like that.

Happy Monday Everyone!  Don’t forget to stop by at J. Kaye’s Blog to see more of what people are reading.

This Is Only a Test: Do Book Bloggers Make a Difference?

I was checking out the new The Huffington Post Books Section this morning (which is awesome), and came across this article.  If you are a book blogger, you’ve probably heard something of the clamor that the new FTC Guidelines has stirred up in the book blogging community.  I’ve been withholding my opinion, – basically because I don’t feel I have enough information to make an informed one.

It seems that bloggers can comment on a specific article on the Huffington Post site and have the comment posted directly to their blog.  I tested out the feature, and as part of the bargain you guys get to hear a little of my thoughts on the controversy.  The Huffington Post also include a link to the original post I’m commenting on at the end, which may come in handy.

“Great post. I’ve been reading up a lot on this issue, but have avoided commenting because of some unanswered questions I’ve had. I read the same article, and was under the impression that returning the books was not a requirement of the new FTC guidelines, but a suggestion of how to deal with them by the FTC representative being interviewed to avoid the “compensation” problem?

While I am not happy with the guidelines either – my issue with them is mainly that they have not been thought out properly and were created by someone(s) who seems to have a limited understanding of how the internet (specifically, blogging) functions. They were not made to specifically target book bloggers and so I don’t believe that the FTC considered their repercussions on this group. What I found most disturbing (and offensive) about the interview is that a differentiation is being made between book bloggers and traditional media outlets who review books – and the insinuation is that we have less integrity than, say, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Despite the fact that we do this for free and, quite honestly, out of love for books.

I wonder if the sad fact is not that the FTC refuses to understand this – but that it just can’t.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost