Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I've Been Hit!...

Well it appears that I've been hit by a meme for the very first time by Sam Houston at Book Chase. As Sam said, this does seem like a good way to get to know each other better, so I'm in. As such, I am charged with these rules for the "8 Things Meme":

The rules -
1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

So, first things first - my 8 things:

1. I'm the oldest of seven children.

2. I'm a trial clerk for the US Tax Court, located in Washington, D.C. (no we're not a division of the IRS and no, I can't give you advice on how to do your taxes. Trust me, you wouldn't want me to).

3. My favorite foods are buffalo wings, macaroni and cheese, and chicken fettuccini with broccoli (conveniently, these are the only three things I'm good at cooking).

4. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and, though it will always be home, I have a very strong aversion to ever living in the Midwest again (the reasons are too numerous and convoluted to enumerate. No offense to those of you who live in and love the Midwest).

5. I've never broken or fractured a bone in my body, except for my right middle finger, which I stuck into the crack of large school door when I was in kindergarten; it is now crooked at the first knuckle.

6. My favorite pieces of clothing are old, worn tee-shirts softened by a thousand washes and five sizes too big.

7. My first month in Japan, I ran into a moving car with my bicycle and drank an entire can of flavored Japanese beer in under five seconds before I realized that it wasn't orange soda as I'd originally assumed.

8. One of my most embarrassing moments in high school - and they are many - was when I stood up at a football game and yelled out, quite clearly I must add, "Home Run!"

Well, that's me and now for those who are getting hit:

1. Stefanie over at So Many Books

2. Historia over at BiblioHistoria

3. The Traveller at Around the World in 100 Books

4. Brandon at Bookstorm

5. SPF at Pages Turned

6. Gentle Reader at Shelf Life

7. Eva over at A Striped Armed Chair

...and that's it. Yes, I know the rules called for tagging eight people but everyone else whose blog I read on a regular basis has already been tagged! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to notify my victims...

From Blog to Book...

Zoe Margolis over at the Guardian Unlimited wonders if publishers aren't looking to blogs for their next best-sellers enough:

Yesterday's announcement of this year's winners of the award for blogs turned into books, the Lulu Blooker prize, would have us believe that many publishers are perusing blogs with the aim of adapting them into books. The website eagerly claims, "Traditional publishing houses, ever in search of the next big name author, have begun to mine blogs and websites for new talent...

According to the Blooker site, books based on blogs are "the world's fastest- growing new kind of book ... a new hybrid literary form". Yet last year, the first year of the award, there were 89 blogs-to-books entered for the Blooker prize. This year it's still only around 100. That doesn't seem to support the idea that every publisher and their dog is jumping on the bandwagon - I think it'll be a while before publishers treat bloggers with the same regard as authors. But perhaps not for that much longer: with a plethora of blogs showcasing good writing to a book-buying public, what publisher doesn't want to utilise a ready-made audience for their book?

Ms. Margolis, having had her own blog published into a book, certainly seems to support authors making the leap from blog to book. And she certainly makes a good point when she argues against the "inverted snobbery" of publishers who believe that anything written on a blog must inherently be of bad quality. However, the case that Margolis makes for blogs...
Unlike a book, a blog allows instant feedback. Readers can send in comments immediately upon reading a blog post. This can then initiate a dialogue between writer and reader that is both interactive and productive. Blogging is not writing in a private vacuum, rather it's about putting your thoughts into a public space and finding out what people think of them instantly. This can assist the writer in terms of developing their ideas: it forces you to write succinctly and with focus. While I'm not suggesting it is solely readers' input that makes blogs worthy of being published, I do think the interactivity and open access of blogging is what can make it so enjoyable for both writer and reader.

...could be construed as argument as for why blogs shouldn't be translated into books at all. I'm unsure how I feel about publishers surfing the blogosphere searching for the next Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. On the one hand, certainly some bloggers are writing the kind of posts which would translate well into a memoir of sorts or a collection of essays. But, on the other hand, I think of blogs as an ongoing conversation and, for this reader at least, turning a blog into a books seems a lot like publishing one side of a telephone conversation.

Reading For the Ole' Red, White, and Blue

The Miami Herald asks presidential candidates what last work of fiction they read:


Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: "Runaway Jury" by John Grisham.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: "The Broker" by John Grisham.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: "Exile" by Richard North Patterson.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Einstein's Dreams" by Alan Lightman.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: "The administration's energy plan."


Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback: "The Dream Giver" by Bruce Wilkinson with David and Heather Kopp.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: "The Beach House" by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: "My oldest son's screenplay."

California Rep. Duncan Hunter: "The Democrats' proposal to balance the budget."

Arizona Sen. John McCain: "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: "Term Limits" by Vince Flynn.

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo: "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore.

I'm not going to take the obvious potshots at those Grisham and Patterson readers - hey, to each his own right? Right. I will say that I'm most impressed with Obama's read. Perhaps, the Miami Herald will next ask the candidates what they thought of their reads. Now that would be interesting reading.