Roundup (Tape Delayed Blogging)

  • It looks like the Mystery Writers of America share the SFWA’s troubling inability to understand that we’re now in the 21st century. Sarah has distressing news about the Edgars. The MWA, perhaps jittery because of Stephen King’s appearance, has pronounced that “cell phones, cameras and all other electronic devices” must be turned off in order to prevent certain attendees from live blogging the proceedings. I’ve never heard of such a preposterous embargo, which runs counter to the spirit of celebrating mystery writers, who I’m sure must be miffed to here that hubristic forces wish to enable their achievements to be disseminated across the Internet in real time. I’d suggest to all Edgar attendees to live blog anyway and let the spirit of samizdat reign under tablecloths.
  • And speaking of hubris against online expression, Michael Dirda has just equated litblogging to “shallow grandstanding and overblown ranting, all too often by kids hoping to be noticed for their sass and vulgarity.” And that’s not all. “Playgrounds, as we all remember, are ruled by bullies, loud-mouths and prima-donnas.” Well, so long as you’re using ad hominem instead of specific examples, Mr. Dirda, I think you’ve proven that vulgarity is actually more your forte. After all, “literary and artsy gossip is always welcome” and Leo Lerman’s journals are “full of delicious anecdotes about shallow, venal, power-mad, sex-crazed and often unlikable people” (compare Dirda’s review with this decidedly less gossipy coverage from Liesl Schillinger). Yup. That’s really the stuff that makes thoughtful book review sections. Fortunately, aside from Dirda’s Wieseltieresque preening, Washington Post Book World remains a first-class publication well worth your time and certainly worth saving.
  • I can absolutely assure readers that A.M. Homes is funny. Callie has more.
  • Dan Wickett interviews Andrea Portes.
  • Mark Binelli is now blogging at the Litblog Co-Op.
  • The Complete Review has a fantastic roundup of PEN World Voices coverage.
  • C. Max Magee has thoughts on how to fix broken book sections.


  1. It could be worse. Howard Hendrix could start writing crime. 8D

    Now if John Scalzi would like to start writing crime… Well, he openly admits copping Hiassen in his most recent book.

  2. I’d be more incensed about Dirda if I didn’t think he really is a sweet, smart guy who just doesn’t understand the internet. Didn’t we already know he’s pretty much a Luddite? He’s like someone’s cranky old grandpa — we should start forwarding him chain letters. He has no idea what goes on on the blogs or with the kids these days. But he’s done some fine writing about books.

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