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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Century (Post) Mark, and What I've Learned From Readers

When I started this blog 99 posts ago, I did so with a full heart, an open mind and a goal of....PSYCH! Nope, this isn't one of "those" self-congratulatory, wistfully-looking-back posts. Those are silly.

But this is indeed my 100th post since starting The New Dork Review of Books, though I'm quite certain I'm the only one who cares about that....and frankly, I'm not even sure how much I care. It's not like I'm stopping now. It's just a number. And in fact Post #101 later this week will be my review of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom — which will hopefully be much more intellectually stimulating contentwise than this one will be. 

And but so, because this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week (for my non-blogger readers, BBAW actually is a pretty significant "event" — check out the website for some great articles, awards, book giveaways, etc.), I actually wanted to appreciate my readers on this, the occasion of my 100th post. You, the readers, via your comments and feedback, really make this blog a lot of fun. So, thank you. And to give this post just a tad more meat, here are five quirky, fun literary things I've learned from your comments over the course of 100 posts:

5. Eat, Pray and Love is a total shamockery! Patrick at The Literate Man — a fantastic blog geared toward dudes, but don't let that stop you if you're of the female persuasion — pointed out on my post about the Franzen Hype Machine that Elizabeth Gilbert had pitched her book and had a contract in place PRIOR to going out and having the spiritual, life-changing experiences chronicled in her memoir. Patrick puts it much more eloquently in his comment — highly encourage you to check it out.

4. I was heartened to learn that readers are just as outraged as I am about the continued practiced of leaving one-star reviews on Amazon to "protest" e-book prices. Again, not exactly an ideological limb, but people who do the one-star review that has nothing to do with the content really grind my gears.

3. I've learned about (and subsequently read) more great books and writers than I can possibly name. The first two examples that spring to mind as books I'd never have read are The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, and Lamb, by Christopher Moore. These two novels showed up more frequently than any others in the comments as recommendations; the latter in a post about favorite funny books. Side note: You know how when you hear your voice on a recording, you usually cringe and say something self-deprecatory to hide your embarrassment like, "Why didn't you tell me I sounded like Gilbert Gottfried on helium?" That's how I feel about that post. Ugh. Terrible. Did I really write that verbose garbage?  Which reminds me...

2. My readers have discerning tastes and high standards for what they want from The New Dork Review of Books. Back in January, on a day I was a little under the weather and just not feelin' like writing something, I tossed together this poor post about memoirs vs. autobiographies. Readers pounced. Lesson learned. 

1. Did you know that some novelists (newer ones, I'm guessing) have clauses in their contracts forcing them to blurb other writers from the same publisher? To learn that from readers on my post about the blurbs was a little disconcerting. But I still like blurbs, and still put stock in who is doing the blurbing — only with a slightly larger grain of salt now.

Any further comment on any of these? If you're a blogger, what are some of your favorite tidbits you've learned from readers?

(Oh, and since yesterday was supposed to be the day you tag your favorite book bloggers, per the theme of the day for BBAW, let me do so now by referring you back to a post I did earlier this summer where I named five of my favorite books blogs. And thanks to Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm, who is mentioned in the post, and also to Trisha at eclectic / eccentric for their really nice shouts out to The New Dork Review of Books yesterday. Cheers!)

20 comments:

  1. Great overview -- I had no idea about the Eat Pray Love deal! Argh. Led astray...

    I've got Lamb on my nightstand and am trying to figure out when to read it -- hopefully soon!

    I don't normally pay attention to any authors who are quoted on another book as "recommendations." I've found that respected authors are quoted on everything and when I've jumped on a book because of that, I've more oftentimes been disappointed than rewarded. Or, I also found that Stephen King recommends everything. Seriously, I bet he's even going to show up on a Sophie Kinsella book soon.

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  2. Congratulations on your 100th post! I hope there will be many hundreds more. Your blog is a great resource not only for what to read next (or what to put on my to-read pile in the hopes of reading it sometime) but also for thoughtful discussions about books and reading in general.

    Keep up the good work.

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  3. did NOT know about #1 - thanks for that! i tend to disregard blurbs that aren't from newspapers, on the theory that if the publisher got penniless writers to come up with praise, it was because they weren't getting it anywhere else. (also, yeah...certain authors blurb EVERYTHING.) and thanks for the eat, pray, love reminder as well. i think i heard that somewhere before but i'd forgotten about it till now. i don't have real plans to read the book, but if i do i'm not going to be able to stop thinking about that advance book deal.

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  4. Great idea for your 100th post. I really enjoyed this! Congrats!

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  5. Happy 100 posts! Enjoyed your round-up of posts.

    And, of course, thanks for the link.

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  6. Congratulations on the 100th post and thank you for the reminder about The Literate Man!

    As for things learned from readers... I've used several ideas for new tags and I love writing posts that respond to questions like "What do you think are the greatest hits of Russian literature?" My readers also send me reading ideas, articles, and news on translations.

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  7. Congrats on 100 posts! Can't wait for your review of Freedom. I thought I would be able to avoid the hype ... but now I live and breathe everything Freedom. I feel like I've heard that phrase "live and breathe" before but now it's not sounding quite right. Anyway.

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  8. Nice round up for your hundredth post. I have found blurbs to be a little suspect for the most part. I do get a great deal of laugh from them, though.

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  9. Hooray, 100 posts! Lots of good stuff to read through, since I'm new to your blog.

    The Book Thief is one of the books that has stayed with me most. Amazing! Lamb is on my list. Someday...

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  10. Congrats on reaching the big 1-double 0,there,Greg. The conversions on this blog are certainly lively and never a dull moment:)

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  11. Congratulations! I've really enjoyed reading your blog the last several months.

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  12. I'm reading Freedom too; it will be interesting to contrast a male view of it, I think.

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  13. Just added you to my reader. I actually came to notice you while judging for best written blog, and I was quite impressed. I still feel sorta new at blogging (almost two years) so I do care about 100 posts. That calls for a toast! I learn stuff everyday on here, the latest being that Lenore @ Presenting Lenore is the mother of the Zombie Chickens! I had no idea.

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  14. Thanks for the shout out, Greg. I'm really looking forward to your review of Freedom, and I hope you'll do some anticipatory posting on DFW's new (posthumous) release. My new goal is to read Infinite Jest before April 15!

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  15. Hey everyone - thanks for the congrats and the comments. You guys are the best!

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  16. Congratulations on hitting the 100 post mark! I know it was a bit of an achievement for me :) I love your list of 5 things you've learned - especially number 5. Yeah, I was meh on the book, then I found that out and was a bit... well... yeah. Anyway!

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  17. My story seems almost as long, isn't nearly as good, but--hey,pick up the Tolstoy! Read that War and Peace!

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  18. What a great post! You come up with such unique lists.

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  19. I love your blog because you are such a great writer. I enjoy everything you write, no matter what the subject is. I also am amazed at the thought your followers put into their comments. I enjoy reading what others have to say about your posts.
    Though you think it is sill, congrats on reaching 100 relevant thought provoking posts.

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  20. Stopping by from the Hop! You just found a new fan - great post.

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