11 July 2009

At The Second Pass, a cathartic twist on your typical “Top 10,” reading list; this one a list of books which are oft-recommended that TSP writers (anonymous, hmm…) have deemed skip-worthy.  

Such [best books] guides are presumably meant to save readers time by pointing them in the right direction, but the guides themselves amount to several months or years of reading. The books they recommend add up to several lifetimes. What starts as an attempt to save hours ends as a commitment to more hours than you probably have. That’s where we come in. Below is a list of ten books that will be pressed into your hands by ardent fans. Resist these people.

I’ve encountered similar conversations going on at goodreads.com, i.e. threads about “hoopla books you were supposed to love but didn’t.” I myself empathize with the impulse to cross titles off of lists; that feeling that you’ll just never read everything you want/need to read creates some stress (though I don’t actually agree with some of the reviews here).  What do you think?  Read ’em here.

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20 February 20009

So I’m recovering from yesterday’s post, still considering the apparent fact that not only is the novel dead (passé, at the least), but blogging’s got one foot in the grave as well.  The”now” now, the “it,” is micro-blogging.

I’ve not Twittered, but I’ve observed and tried out the Facebook “status update”:  Sonya is surfing Amazon, one might write on her Facebook homepage, for all her “friends” to see.  Sonya is combing her dog for fleas.  Sonya is off to bed now, good night!  The updates I love-to-hate are the ones which simultaneously thumb their noses and make poetry of Facebook’s default (passive) “is” in the posting box:  Jill is Puerto Rico!  Jane is every day is a winding road!

I have my doubts about a story-in-micro-blog-fragments, a la Goodreads.com; but who knows, the haiku form has flourished and inspired verses of depth and breadth and mystery for centuries.  

But the greater literary potential of the micro-blog, I think, might be found in Virginia Woolf’s notion of “moments of being” (from her book of the same title).  Moments of being are those flashes of insight, of heightened spiritual and sensual awareness, which grace us from time to time in the midst of lives which are comprised mostly of “non-being” — that greater part of life which is “not lived consciously,” but instead embedded in “a kind of nondescript cotton wool.”  Artists may experience moments of being as they work, or as inspiration to work (we writers keep our notebooks on hand for just this purpose).

And now, Facebookers-and-Twitterers-all can take moments out of the day for “being.”  How about suggesting to Facebook to replace the default “is” with a moment-of-being verb like wonders or envisions, sensory verbs like sees, hears, feels, hungers.  In that Facebook world, I might actually read all my news feeds.

19 February 2009

Goodreads.com is having a micro-blogging writing contest:

The novel is passé. The short story is outmoded. Even Lonelygirl15’s videoblog is yesterday’s news. The new medium of creativity is the status update. Aficionados of Twitter and Facebook understand the power of instant communication. We’re taking it one step further: Can you tell your friends a story using only your Goodreads status updates?

I am a little speechless.  More on this as I micro-process it in my micro-mind.