Monday, January 10, 2011

Spreading Some Mid-Winter Book Blogger Love

As you're reading this, I'm chillin' in beautiful Waikiki, either sunning myself on the beach or enjoying a fruity cocktail with an umbrella in it (which is okay for dudes, as long as there's a beach involved, right?), or maybe both. Take that, Chicago winter!

But, to attempt to preempt your jealous rage, here's a gift: A list of some of my favorite literary book bloggers I've discovered recently. Much like the bloggers in the list here from last summer, these bloggers all have three things in common: They mostly discuss contemporary literary fiction; they're smart and funny; and their engaging reviews move beyond the standard "I liked it" or "It sucked" to offer well-reasoned defenses of their opinions. So, here you go:

1. Bob Einstein's Literary Equations — Matt Rowan writes one of the best, most intellectually intense amateur book blogs out there. Matt discusses both classic and contemporary literature, from The Instructions (it was on Matt's blog that I first read and began to get excited about that fantastic novel) to Vladimir Nabokov and William Gaddis, Matt covers a wide swath of "serious" fiction. Definitely a blog to check out if you miss your college literature survey courses.

2. What Red Read — Alley's fun, enthusiastic blog focuses mostly on contemporary lit, with hints of other stuff, like Calvin and Hobbes and Chelsea Handler, tossed in for flavor. I love her conversational style and her ability to weave pop culture into her book discussions — from The Simpsons to rock band Jimmy Eat World. In fact, her post about songs inspired by novels is probably the one book blog post from the last year I've spent the most time thinking about — trying to figure out other book-inspired songs.

3. The Book Catapult — I started following Seth's blog soon after he began leaving wildly intelligent comments on mine. Seth works in a bookstore in San Diego, so his book knowledge is beyond reproach. But Seth also reviews contemporary fiction in an eloquent, smooth style, and provides plenty of new-release news. His recent "2010 Notable List" series has been fascinating.

4. Learning To Read —  Of any amateur book blog out there, Ben's blog is the one that most resembles the tone and content of my own — which means it's one of my favorites. Though, frequently, I am jealous of Ben — I read his posts and think "man, I wish I would've written/thought/joked about that." Ben's strength, though, is that he's a lot less verbose than I often am. His posts are to-the-point and a pleasure to read.

5. Dead End Follies — Another Ben blogger — and this fella's quite prolific! He usually publishes two or three times a day, tossing in book reviews, movie reviews, quotes, and general posts about whatever else might be eatin' him at the moment. Ben's also a virtuosic tweeter, never at a loss for words and fun to follow — which you can do here: @BenoitLelievre

There you have it. Enjoy! Which amateur book blogs out there have caught your eye lately?

Aloha! ;)


  1. Oh WOW. I feel like I've won an Oscar. Hell, I've won a Zimmerman. I'd like to thank my mother...

    I'm off to check out the others in the list, because you've made them all sound brilliant, and I've never read a single one.

  2. Oohhh, time for me to get clicking!

  3. I'm on the move! Gotta check these bloggers out, if they have captured your attention. And yes a little jealous, even though I live in Florida and it isn't all that bad down here. I was in Maui last spring, and that is a whole different league of beaches!

  4. I love when you do posts like these. Sometimes it's hard to find ligit book bloggers that focus on the literary. Enjoy your vacation. I'm very jealous as it's snowing right now in MKE.

  5. What a great post! Have a great vacation!

  6. Thanks for the compliment and the list of other bloggers I need to check out!

    I hope you're enjoying those fruity umbrella-ed drinks! If you drink it with confidence, you can totally have them anywhere but the beach helps.

  7. Erch! (that's an exclamation of surprise and pleasure, don't misunderstand me!) I feel late to the thread of this awesomely nice post that plugs my blog, Greg! The feeling is exceedingly mutual, though, so's you know!

    Plus, also I look forward to, like others seem to have beaten me in mentioning, checking out the others included on your list here.

    Enjoy your sunny vacation whilst I sit here and imagine what it will be like when I'm able to again feel the sun.

  8. What great blogs! I visited them all and will most definitely lurk a bit, as I had a sort of "I am not worthy" feeling while reading their wonderful posts!
    Have a great trip!

  9. I gotta say, Greg... I love the photo of your sunny and hot holiday spot you posted. I'm writing to you from flood-devastated Brisbane here in Australia; and we've got the worst floods since 1974! I'd do anything just to see some of the Queensland sunshine again. I'm onto my third book this year (already) and that's because there's nothing else to do but read!

    I will most definitely look in on all the blogs you've recommended tonight; and might get in and follow them. You never know, I might add something else to mine I never thought of.

    One of the best blog I've read is yours; as it's insightful and well-written. And tonight, your blog was the one I sought out to read when I needed something to take my mind off the problems of my world.

  10. Thanks, Greg! Much appreciated. :)

  11. While I am very happy that you have given me a couple of new bloggers to check out, I am currently doing so in the midst of that Chicago winter you are escaping-so far about 4 inches of snow and counting. I'd characterize my relationship to you right now as love/hate...Have a fruity umbrella drink for me!

  12. Nice holiday! I'd be jealous but it's a long hot summer here in Perth and I live a 5 min walk from the beach which I take a walk upon and a swim every morning. Yep, pretty sure I live in paradise :-) Great list of blogs, thanks for bringing them my attention. No Sound But the Wind by The Editors is based on Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and captures the tone of the book very well in my opinion. You might have missed it because it's on the New Moon soundtrack :-P

  13. Have a wonderful holiday--and thanks for all the new blogs to check out!

  14. Awesome list of blog. Thanks for bringing these to my attention!


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