Sunday, January 03, 2010

Yes. And That, Also

There are so many things on my "terribly important to post about" list.

Let's see, off the top of my head:

KIRKUS closing, what types of reviews it did, whether blogs can "replace" this, and what it means to have a reduced number of professional review journals.

INTERNET LIBRARIAN 2009. My attending, what I loved, and what was noticeably absent.

ALAN 2009. Loved it, despite it blowing my budget which means unless I get some sort of unexpected windfall, I won't be going to 2010.

SHOULD-ing on blogs and bloggers. A bit tied to KIRKUS talks, but frequently I see/read (via Twitter, listservs, hodge podge of places) people (sometimes bloggers, sometimes not) telling blogs what they "should" be doing. As if somehow, they are on the Board of Directors of the blog or the blog is being written just for them so they can dictate content, post length, etc.

TIME. tied into the SHOULDing, but it seems that some people really forget that blogging is just part of ones life, not the whole of ones life. so the "should" comes from the expectation that one blog run by one person can somehow deliver the content of, say, TIME magazine or VANITY FAIR.

CLIQUES and what is and is not a clique. I've grown a newfound dislike for the poem, "we drew a circle that took him in" and am always jumpy about us/them/we/"everyone knows" "the rules are" talk. But because clique is such a strong word, and not every grouping is a clique, I want to really explore it further in a post.

LIBRARIANS AND BOOKS, or how readers advisory and collection development get ignored by so many librarian folk (see Library 101, or American Libraries Blog saying patron reviews of currently owned library material is a replacement for KIRKUS). And why this is sad and troubling.

MONEY. Needed. Ethical ways to make it on blogs.

BNFs, and NOT REALLY BEING IMPORTANT. Thought Justine Larbalestier did a really similar post last month. With a side helping of entitlement, especially of what others "should" do (i.e., send an ARC, give an interview, link, comment, twitter). Also how book blogs are and are not representative of readers in general, or local readers.

REVIEWS. the many different types of things written that get the label "review". while its been blogged about before, with closing of KIRKUS I want to revisit it.

ANTI INTELLECTUALISM. usually combined with a "jus' folks" type of thing. and found in some surprising quarters. Why is being smart viewed as such a negative? Why is the "just reacting from my heart" privileged above "analyzing based on knowledge"?

VALUING EXPERTISE. though noting there are many ways to be an expert. Tied in to anti-intellectualism sometimes, but not others. Along with how there are different types of experts, so what that does and doesn't mean about what they say.

WINDOW/MIRROR BOOKS. and what a disservice we do to children/teens/adults when we insist on only mirrors -- doesn't it seem, sometimes, that this is behind a lot of what gets banned/ censored? Especially with children and teens, its about MAGIC MIRROR books, showing the reader a world/self that they ought to be. So the "but this book has swearing! sex! gay characters! we cannot have children reading this!" reaction because people don't want books to be windows. But it's also about diversity, isn't it? Because once one insists on mirror books exclusively, the diverse books get shut out. And the people in those diverse books (whether its color, religion, gender, sex, ethics, ethnicity, country, economic status, etc) become more firmly the "other," sometimes the exotic other, or the feared other, or the "why can't they be more like us" other.

DOUBLE STANDARDS. aka, if we want authors to put up with reviews saying we didn't like x about the book, we cannot complain if someone says they don't like x about our review.

Hmm. What else? I know there are other things floating around in my head. But there you have it. The things I want to post about; and maybe, someday, will have the time to do so. As well as the books I have to read, then the reviews to write, blog maintenance, reading other blogs, Twitter. Oh, of course, the time for my job, my family, my friends, my home, my non-blog writing. And all the other things that make up a life. So, you may or may not see any of those topics get its own shiny post!

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Wendy said...

Looking forward to posts about any or all of those subjects; I think you've touched on a lot of things that have been coming up in fairly heated ways lately. And it reminds me to say, on the "putting up with people who don't like x about our reviews/posts", I do appreciate it that you don't get defensive when I disagree with you. That's an art.

Liz B said...

Selfishly, I think its boring to just have a discussion where people agree with each other all the time. Again selfishly, a legitimate alternate POV does great things to sharpen ones own arguments. And I also think that we all need to both talk and listen; to persuade but also to be open to persuasion. The great thing about a blog is I can pause; I can see, "I'm getting defensive. why is this? why is this a button?" Goodness, have we added another topic for me to blog about or can I fold it into "welcome disagreement..."?

Christine Norris said...

I'm looking forward to starting Library School (why do they call it that anyway? It's Graduate School, for a Master's Degree! Does that monkier have any bearing on how librarians might be treated in the public view?)and following along with your blog to hear all the Librarian news, things I should be paying attention to, opinions on the ALA stuff. Because I know nothing as far as that goes. I don't know which conferences I should go to and which I should skip, for example.

So post away, lady!

edh said...

All of your topics seem to flow into and out of one another... maybe you need one MEGA 2010 kickoff post? I'm eager to hear about all of these so write freely!

susan said...

Love all the topics and here's to wishful thinking that you could address them all. No matter. Every one you do address is worth the read.

I like and respect the experts, the intellectuals. I like people who think and we sorely need more people not less who take time to learn, contemplate and then speak on an issue.

Kudos for what you do here, Liz.

Carrie K said...

What a great list! I can't wait to read what you have to say. Maybe you should pick a topic each week and have a blog dialogue.

Amy said...

Looks like an interesting list of topics, some things I often battle out in myself. (like heart vs. intellect) I look forward to whatever you manage to have the time to write.

Colleen said...

Holy crap what a list! Wow! There are ten things I want to post about right now....but even better I want to talk about all of them with you over drinks.

And to hell with what the SLJ subscribers think of that.

Good stuff, Liz. As always. (And now I walk away and think about which I am guilty of....)

sassymonkey said...

Oh yes please on the "shoulding." It is driving me crazy, to the point where I am now ignoring a large portion of the conversations that are going on amongst book bloggers because of the "bloggers should do x" theme that runs rampant among them.

Donna Gambale said...

Just the snippets of that list are intriguing. The one that stuck out to me the most was TIME - now that The First Novels Club is gaining followers pretty rapidly (yay!), I'm feeling (self-inflicted) pressure to produce more and better content. It's a wonderful problem to have, but I don't want it to be at the expense of my writing! Thankfully, I have three other blog co-writers who can pick up the slack when I need "me" time.

Anyway, I very much look forward to your 2010 posts!

Lori L said...

What a great list! I'll be looking forward to anything and everything you decide to write. The Cliques, Should-ing, and Time have become personal hot-button topics and I often try to avoid some of that content so I don't loose my cool.

Anonymous said...

I think the topics that stick out as most interesting to me are Internet Librarian 09, Librarians and Books, Reviews, Anti-Intellectualism and Valuing Expertise (could combine the two, even if the one is broader than the other). But honestly? Whichever topic is striking YOU most when it actually comes time to write is most likely to turn out interesting to US, too. If you really don't feel like writing about a topic anymore even if you feel you "should" (heh), we won't miss it if you don't!