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Monday Tally: Harriet the Spy and Literary Profiling

monday-tag-150px Monday Tally is a weekly link round-up of some of my favorite posts discovered over the week. If you have suggestions for Monday Tally, please e-mail sophisticated [dot] dorkiness [at] gmail [dot] com. Enjoy!

It’s a bit of a short tally this week — I didn’t find as many great links because I was so distracted by a mid-week snow day and reading as much Super Bowl analysis as I could find. #Imissfootballseasonalready

First, an amazing quote:

“The opportunity to single out a book that ‘changed my life’ makes me realize that no book leaves us unchanged, for better or worse. Why read otherwise?”

— Billy Collins, my favorite poet. Thanks to Sasha & The Silverfish for sharing.

Geoff Nicholson wrote about the perils of profiling people based on the books they read in the New York Times, which makes sense but also makes it less fun to poke around the bookshelves of people when you go to their house for the first time.

Erin Blakemore, author of The Heroine’s Bookshelf, is doing a month of Heroine Love, with a number of guest posts about favorite literary heroines. One of my favorites was from Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters, who wrote about her love for Harriet the Spy. This was one of my favorite points:

One of the things I found myself wanting to write about when I was first thinking about The Weird Sisters was the big secret I wish I’d known much earlier – no one ever feels like a grown-up.

We fumble around in adulthood – accumulating friends and families and careers and wrinkles and mortgages, and not one of us ever feels like whatever we thought a grown-up was supposed to feel like.

What do you think of this statement from a literary agent to an aspiring author: “If you won’t have a blog, don’t bother sending us your manuscript?” On the one hand, it makes sense — authors need to do more marketing of themselves and a blog is a good way to do it. On the other hand, perhaps a little harsh?

TechCrunch might be starting a book review column, which would be cool if they pick interesting, tech and society sorts of books.

Trish (Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity) asked readers: How public is your blog? There’s a pretty wide variety of responses, although the trend seems to be more towards keeping it private from in real life friends and acquaintances.

Longform.org, one of my favorite websites for good narrative journalism, posted a Paris Review interview with Gay Talese, one of the best early narrative nonfiction writers. I just loved this paragraph so, so much:

Strewn across one of the desks are Ziploc sandwich baggies filled with photographs and meticulously typewritten labels with names and dates. Spilled across the floor are more photographs of his glamorous wife, Nan, and their friends, throughout the five decades of their marriage. Talese is beginning to classify his photographs for his new book, a history of his marriage, and the mess is part of the vast organizational project that marks the beginning of his research. Few writers research as thoroughly or ardently as Talese, who gives nine or ten years of his life to a book. He has records of every day—where he was, who he saw, and how he felt. The photographs will be correlated with those records and placed into files, organized by year. As one can tell by the collages decorating the file boxes, the record keeping is more than just boxes of notes; it’s the creative act itself.

Books for My TBR

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness because Steph (Steph & Tony Investigate) gave it such a glowing review, and I love the idea of combining fantasy and books. I used to read a lot more fantasy than I do now, and I sort of miss it.

Edible Stories: A Novel in Sixteen Parts by Mark Kurlansky because it looks like it would be a great pick for BookClubSandwich and I’m interested in novels written in parts since I read A Visit from the Goon Squad.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anastasia February 7, 2011, 4:46 pm

    Well, that quote about adults not feeling like actual adults certainly makes me feel better!

    • Kim February 7, 2011, 6:05 pm

      Anastasia: Yes, me too. It’s comforting.

  • Sheila (Bookjourney) February 7, 2011, 5:07 pm

    OOH I love posts that link to great things in the blogesphere! Thanks Kim!

    • Kim February 7, 2011, 6:06 pm

      Sheila: Thanks, I hope they’re some good links to explore!

  • Care February 7, 2011, 6:00 pm

    Good stuff.

    • Kim February 7, 2011, 6:06 pm

      Thanks Care 🙂

  • Trisha February 8, 2011, 7:23 pm

    That’s a tough call on the necessity of a blog; I think that would really upset me as an author. A website is fine, but having to maintain a blog would be a bit annoying.

    • Kim February 9, 2011, 6:32 pm

      Trisha: Now that I think about it, perhaps a blog isn’t totally necessary, but having a website definitely is. I get annoyed when authors don’t have a website to link to or look at when I want to know more about them. And really, I think starting and maintaining a blog isn’t has hard as people make it out to be. Posts are short, and if you can write something, say, 3 days a week, you can build a pretty consistent audience slowly. I can see why publishers would want authors to do that.

  • Jenny February 8, 2011, 7:23 pm

    I like the thing about judging people by the books they read, even though it’s not going to stop me from judging them by what they read. And watch. And listen to. I can if I want. (And on the nice side, I am always pleased to find that people I’ve been intimidated by watch trashy TV. A lot of people have a guilty pleasure TV show.)

    • Kim February 9, 2011, 6:33 pm

      Jenny: Lol, probably the same for me! I have a lot of guilty pleasure tv shows, and guilty pleasure music. I loooove bad high school dance music from say, the mid-90’s 🙂