Thursday 21 February 2008


I've been thinking a lot about how I'm currently running this blog as the first anniversary of its conception approaches. I've been thinking about what I want to give to it and what I want to get from it and I've come to some conclusions.

I started this blog simply to find out just how many books I could read in a year, and that's fine, but I've learned some things about myself in the meantime. I like books (obviously) and in spite of my PhD, I still like writing about them, but very obviously, not in an academic way. (The incredibly evocative adjective "shiteous," unfortunately, has not yet been co-opted into academic jargon.)

This suggests I ought to perhaps write book reviews as part of my non-academic career, but there are three major problems there: 1) I don't want to read Can Lit more than say twice a year, 2) I don't necessarily want to be reading only new releases, and 3) about half of what I read has been translated into English and I'm not interested in changing that either. Not many literary magazines are going to be interested in printing reviews of books written 90 years ago in Japan, and so clearly I'm interested in speaking to a different audience than mags like BookSlut and Quill & Quire are directed towards.

Within the next 6 months to a year, I'm going to be transitioning this humble blog into MY idea of what constitutes a rockin' online literary magazine. I will perhaps be looking for contributers of some sort; that's not clear to me yet. What is clear is that my focus will be a fiercely independent one that isn't interested in selling or promoting anyone's work - this will not be a site about authors.

This site will be about readers, like me, who read what they want and don't give a rat's ass that they're in the minority and are getting pelted with cyber-tomatoes when they post on their blog saying that Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is a sentimental piece of shit designed to sell books to middle-class ladies from the suburbs who are bored out of their minds and just want to feel anything and so read crap like this. (This site will clearly allow for a certain measure of rant, which is sadly lacking in most publications of the kind I'm thinking of.) Can you imagine the rejection letter I would have received had I sent a review containing that run-on sentence to the New York Times Review of Books? It would be worth framing, I'm sure.

So, yes, it may be a cranky website - but that's me. I read a number of online lit mags and I like them but I haven't found any yet that publish the kind of stuff I'd like to be reading. More later, but in the meantime I'll be relegating the numbering system to the post labels and introducing posts which address issues around reading besides reviews of the books I'm plowing through.

Suggestions about future content are welcome but may be ignored. Suggestions about how to up my readership to magazine proportions will not be ignored unless, of course, they involve burning things down or my wearing frilly underpants and getting spanked in public.


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