Ordinarily I’m a voracious reader, but when I’m at this point in a writing project I stop reading fiction entirely. I can’t bring myself to absorb other people’s stories right now, and most non-fiction reading (of which I have stacks around here) is too left-brainy. Am getting my dose of that with my left-brain blurts and posts in this blog of late. Ergo, I need something else for infotainment for me this week and found it in blogs. Here are three that are new to me that I like and will probably stay subscribed to for a while.
This is the blog retreat of Wendy, “Mild mannered librarian and romance junkie by day, kick-ass superhero babe by night.” “She’s witty. She’s quirky. She writes articulate, interesting book reviews – constantly – and she uses damn fine 1950s pseudo-cheesecake art for icons and graphics (except for her batwoman- themed superheroism, which also rocks). Love it. Her reading interests are as eclectic as my own, albeit in some other directions (you almost couldn’t pay me to read romances, for instance, but I’m with her on historical novels and several other things on her list) – so, she speaks to topics I find of interest. Plus, her miscellaneous anecdotes about life experiences are just plain entertaining. I’m a former librarian myself, so I am doubly amused by her icon that says, “I’m a librarian. Don’t make me shush your ass.” ROFL! This is a sharp woman who’s fun to read. I kept coming back to this blog; every time I thought I was done I had to read just one more post. Check her out.
Speaking of sharp women, Whitney Hess seems to be making a name for herself in the blogosphere and the tweetosphere as well (I don’t tweet, so if there’s a term for the collective I don’t know it. Or, maybe I’ve just coined a neologism. You tell me.) She’s a smart, thoughtful user experience designer who is boldly going it alone as an independent consultant in NYC. She shares some very insightful observations about user experience and design issues, and is starting to speak at conferences and write articles for other blogs. You go, girl. She also gives thoughtful feedback on posts and thanks people who have helped her, frequently and earnestly, so her sincerity and grateful heart is evident to the onlooker. This is the kind of person one wants to see succeed.
I discovered her during my feed reader software quest, when I was struck with her orderly and rational analysis of the qualities of two different readers. This was right on the heels of my earlier post where I was kvetching about the pointlessness of doing polls for “best” reader. She neither polled nor pulled an opinion out of the air, but compared features and judged which tool performed better than the other, analyzing that step-by-step in her post. A minor thing in a way, but the clarity of her thought processes became evident in that one piece and so I read further. She seems to be gathering quite the following, and I venture to say she’s the kind of young, brilliant industry professional whom it is a joy watch blossom in her career. Her blog subtitle is, “Improving the human experience one day at a time.” Somehow you know she means it. Hess is worth keeping an eye on.
Literary agent Kristin is that odd bird in the publishing industry: an agent who is frank and incredibly transparent about her business deals and methodologies. I mean frank and transparent to the point of posting a year-end analysis of her performance figures for last year, including factoids like how many queries received, how many books represented, how many sold. Not only is this interesting and revealing for writers to see, but it rather flies in the face of the confidential, often downright secretive atmosphere in which many (most?) agents seem to conduct their business.
Beyond doing a year-end recap, though, this agent gives much useful information touching upon many different aspects of the writing, selling and publishing business. Many agents talk about what they look for in a query letter; Kristin goes beyond that to reproduce the letter and deconstruct what worked in it and why. This tone prevails in everything she shares, which makes this blog one of the more valuable for writers hoping to hear the straight scoop from a successful industry professional. On the face of it, Pub Rants may seem more slanted towards the novice writers hoping to break into publishing, and much of her content is fine-tuned for that audience in particular. A lot of it transcends “noob”-ness, though, and is of value to more established writers as well.
She’s also an interesting person to listen to: not only does she take the time to write (often at considerable length) about her subject matter, but she also starts every post with what’s on her iPod at the moment. I find this a surprisingly humanizing thing for a distant book industry professional to be adding to her posts, along with her comments on the performing artist or how the song makes her feel. It’s cool to sit with her in her office and hear her voice in this manner, along with the good information she shares along the way. This is certainly a niche interest blog, but Kristin is an interesting inhabitant of it.
With the millions of blogs out there, I think it is helpful from time to time to go beyond a mere blogroll link and highlight who we like and why. So there you have it: my discoveries du jour. Happy reading!