I was thinking the other day that it had been a while since I had posted anything steering people to some of the blogs/bloggers I have met in this thing we apparently call “the blogosphere”—which sounds for all the world like some kind of alien technology—but when I actually looked up my last “blogroll shoutout” I found that, in fact, A) I have only done this once, and B) it was two and a half years ago, or ten oil changes ago, depending on how you reckon time. Regardless, I said to myself that I really ought to doff my cap at a few folks who are posting things I think are worth your attention. And then yesterday happened and I thought, “man, get this post written!”
By “yesterday happened”, I mean that Jillian at A Room of One’s Own—familiar to anybody here who’s been following my ongoing discussion with Jillian in the comments on Gone With the Wind posts—posted an incredibly kind and complimentary post about my blog and why it might be worth people checking it out. This single-handedly produced the busiest day at Following Pulitzer in its three year history: plenty of new folks following the blog, leaving comments, leaping around to see reviews and posts from the pile of things I’ve made it through thus far. So I was incredibly grateful—Jillian’s readership are a thoughtful and friendly crew, and anybody from there who decides to look in on me here is more than welcome!—and I thought I would steer folks Jillian’s way in return. I have to say, if you haven’t hopped over to her blog already, you really ought to take the journey: Jillian’s posts are all really well-composed and reflective, and she engages with a lot of classic titles that I know appeal to folks who wander through here. Just as an example, check out her recent review of Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: she digs into the books she reads, and I find her energy in praise of the books she loves really inspiring. Her comments about why she reads, how she handles reading fatigue, what she loves about reading, etc., are all really sharp also, so even if you’re not looking for book reviews, there’s plenty of other conversation happening there. Also, if you’ve been thinking of digging in and reading a few classic novels yourself, there’s an enormous group at her blog called “The Classics Club”, and it looks to me like a great place for chatting about books and getting tips on what to read next—if I didn’t already have my own Sisyphean task to complete, I’d be seriously gearing up to join the group and read a slew of books that I know people assume that I’ve read (and which I’m betting I’ll love once I finally do).
Some other recent visitors here have blogs that have caught my eye—I’m still just getting to know their work, but I’m liking what I’m finding out there. I could list a number of blogs that I’ve bookmarked to return to, but here are two that I’ve seen enough of to know I’ll be back to. Donna’s blog, Scrambled Books, is a great example of a book that’s a bit less list-bound than mine (or even Jillian’s)—she’s tackling a few Victorian classics this summer, but Donna’s interest in historical fiction (and more generally in reader’s advisory, based on her experience working in the public library) is a great reminder to me of the breadth of reading I want to maintain—I don’t want to read “all Pulitzers, all the time”, and I think Donna’s doing a great job balancing looks at classic titles with some more recent fare that’s definitely worth reading. And one of yesterday’s arrivals, SilverSeason, is maintaining a blog called Silver Threads that takes on literature in a very different way: rather than posting reviews, she posts these remarkably detailed reflections on particular elements in a book she’s read (a reflection on the choices Jane Eyre makes, for example). I’ve only looked around a little, but I think the approach she takes is very intriguing (and often really illuminating), so I commend her to your attention also.
Lastly, although I have no personal connection with the blogger, I have to admit that I’ve started reading Dead White Guys: An Irreverent Guide to Classic Literature somewhat regularly. Yes, the attitude at that blog is a good Kentucky mile away from the much more reserved and composed tone I generally strike here (okay, nobody haul out the Able McLaughlins review as counter-evidence: the Dalai Lama would have cursed like a sailor at that book). Anyway, DWG’s blogger is doing something that I definitely appreciate: demystifying the classics a bit, and treating them like a gang of rough-housing old buddies. Her blog takes in movie adaptations as well as books, and does some of the pondering of why/how/what to read that Jillian does—though with a much more crass vocabulary. It’s not for everybody, but I’m finding it a nice addition to the other blogs I read, and I think there are a lot of genuine insights in there amidst the humor.
All right, that’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but I think each of these folks is doing work that’s worth your time, and hopefully from their blogs you can continue out into the world of book bloggers—as I’m discovering recently, there are a lot of us out here, and there’s a lot to gain from the conversations we can have. If you find a great book blog out there, drop me a comment and let me know!