Friday, 4 March 2016

February recap, and some thoughts on blogging

Last month I wrote 5 posts, or 3, to be exact, because 1 of them was a list and another contained nothing but a song. For comparison, I wrote 14 posts in February 2015, 20 in March, 24 in April, 34 in May, 46 in June... 
Excuses: busy, lazy, gloomy, etc. 
But why do I need any excuses? We should create something like the lit blogger's Bill of Rights: the right to write, and write about anything, the right to defend any book, the right to criticise any book, the right to change opinion about a book or author, the right to disagree with general opinion, the right to choose any format, the right to write in any language, the right to write in any style, the right not to be professional/ academic, the right to visit other litblogs, the right to discuss and argue with other bloggers, the right to be a book snob or a book slut, the right not to write, and so on and so forth. 
That leads to another question that bothers me sometimes: Why do we blog? And: why do I blog? I started blogging for the 1st time in 2006, and in nearly 10 years (how time flies!) I've changed several times, had several blogs- blogspot, yahoo 360, wordpress. This blog you're looking at was created in 2012 and is likely to remain alive for some time, and I won't abandon blogging any time soon, but I have doubt sometimes. What do I earn from it? What if it's nothing but a waste of time? 
What I love most about blogging is the absolute freedom. You can write anything. You don't have to stick to any rules on style or format (the late D. G. Myers once wrote about 2 kinds of bloggers, for example). You have no editor, no censor, no ministry of public enlightenment and propaganda controlling you. You don't owe anybody anything. The relationship between you and your readers isn't the same as that between an author writing for publication and his/her readers (unless you put up some ads- now that makes it similar). 
The other thing I love about blogging has to do with other bloggers. The good blogs. The comments, conversations and discussions. The sense of community. The different perspectives. 
Of course I can see how a professional critic may be sceptical. The blogosphere is vast, and messy, and because it's so free, so democratic, everybody can voice their own opinion and very often some people just say what they think about a book without adequately understanding it and without bothering to back up their assessment with arguments and examples. But there are brilliant, valuable blogs out there, and for them I'm grateful. 
(Speaking of which, Rohan Maitzen wrote a blog post about this topic recently). 
Anyway, last month, after reading The Cossacks, I made the mistake of reading right after Hadji Murad, which should have waited, especially when I was busy with many things, and not in the right mood. Tolstoy's 1 of those writers with a strong, imposing personality and an obsession with 1 central idea, and reading 1 Tolstoy book right after another is like watching in a row several films by directors like Wong Kar Wai, Woody Allen, Ozu or Ingmar Bergman. I also made the mistake of reading, at the same time, Tolstoy and the Novel by John Bayley, who didn't seem to like Tolstoy that much. 
The good side is that afterwards I made the wise decision to turn to the wonderful Lewis Carroll. Having just finished reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I am now reading Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Pure fun. The very thing I need before embarking on a Moby-Dick read-along. 
(I know, I violate the rule and write about my reading experience instead of the books). 
Anybody cares to join in the read-along? I've got Anne, Caroline, and maybe Tim. 


  1. Di,

    Won't promise, but depending my schedule, I may join you with the Whale.

  2. Blogging, Di, 'tis indeed sometimes a wonderland. Both Lewis Carroll and the Wizard of Oz would have loved the platform. Ponder that marriage of minds for a moment! When should I dust off my copy of Melville's man v. universe whaling adventure?

  3. "Rule," well. Whatever gets you writing.

  4. Tom,
    Haha, yeah.

    Lovely! That would be very nice, yeah.

    Fred and Tim,
    I don't quite know yet. I'm rather obsessed with Lewis Carroll at the moment. Should I read the Sylvie and Bruno books now or are they disappointments?