Saturday Summation – 07 July 2012

Here are some of my most interesting blog and news reads of the week.

Reading Stuff:

I kind of love this post by author, Patrick Somerville, who has recently released his latest novel, This Bright River. It is both a sad and frustrating story (the post), while at the same time fantastically written, which ends up making me want to read his book, which I think is ultimately the tangential goal. He writes of how a NYTimes journalist gives a not-so-great review of the book, which is not so great in and of itself, but what made it worse was that the reviewer confused the first couple of chapters in the book, which therefore gave inaccuracies. What transpired after that is some fun stuff, in my opinion. Check it out:

Author Mike Duran writes about the idea of making our readers “work” as he looks upon the idea of commercial vs. literary fiction. I’ll likely reference this post again in the future, as I’ve been “cogitating” on this topic a bit myself. There is some interesting discussion in the comments section of his post, too.

Then just yesterday I had to laugh when I saw this announcement from a small publishing company in Minnesota that said it would now start to e-print “popular fiction titles with literary value”, whatever that means.

Writing Stuff:

In light of a couple of recent publishing deals, one that I have mentioned before and another that I have not, I found this post by K.M. Weiland to be a useful reminder about how stuff works sometimes – “Why Do Bad Books Get Published?”

She also hosted a guest author on her blog last week that sums up some thoughts I have always had about writing and to save you from my hot air about it, I happily send you along to see what Thomas Schmidt has to say about pretty much the only “rule” about writing: Be true to yourself.

I’ve seen a few posts in the past couple of months that try to examine the idea of social media problems… distractions, interruptions, “addiction”. As someone who is a fairly high user of social media, I get a little tired of the idea of the black/white issue. I know how to shut off the distractions. I can log out of Twitter. I can shut down alerts on my phone. So this is why I appreciated a view that recognizes the potential pitfalls, but also gives a positive look at what social media can really involve and that is simply change.

Video of the Week:

Hugh McGuire works and has worked with various web/digital publishing models and recently gave a talk at the TEDx conference in Montreal. The title of his talk is “The Blurring Lines Between Books and the Internet.” It originally caught my eye when someone else on Twitter blogged about it with the headline, “eBooks Gone in 5 Years?”, which was quite misleading because McGuire’s point is not that ebooks will disappear (wouldn’t that be a foolish prediction at this point?), but that they will become much more similar to web pages vs. print books. Currently, they are structured and designed to be more like print books, but he sees this as problematic and shortsighted. If it is in digital format, it should embrace all that the digital world offers us. Interaction, sharing, linking, etc.

I liked his logical approach to this topic. Contrary to what it may appear in previous posts of mine, I do not have a problem with e-books as a delivery format. If you have 15 minutes, check out what McGuire has to say:

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