Just as Yelp helps shoppers and diners choose where to spend cash, blogs help busy people decide the best ways to spend their free time. This is no insignificant contribution. In commercialized world, it can be hard to decipher the “good” from the “well-promoted” (two qualities that are ever more mutually exclusive), and time spent deciding between movies, books, or video games is time spent working, not playing.
Since you’ve spent the last four weeks in hot pursuit of the best holiday gifts for everyone on your list, give yourself a break and check out a list that’s just for you. These excellent book blogs are guaranteed to save you time and get you geared up for the next big read.
Will appeal most to: Former and current English majors, book snobs, readers who would only see the movie first if it was based on a Stephen King novel, the manic and passionate daily reader.
Special because: This blog offers highly intelligent reviews that do more than praise or ridicule. They provide insight and context to enhance the reader’s experience. It’s almost like going to your own private literature seminar.
Will appeal most to: Current or would-be booksellers, publishers, editors, and otherwise industry afflicted individuals (and their loved ones), librarians, writers, and Herman Melville fanatics.
Special because: Rarely can a publishing house (in this case Melville House, named for the author of the blog’s eponymous Moby-Dick) produce an industry blog that achieves independent success and avoids blatant self-promotion. MobyLives! is truly an exception, and anyone interested in the future of the book industry would do well to follow this daily blog with fervor.
3. In Which I Read Vintage Novels
Will appeal most to: The literary scholar, fans of the word “’twas,” individuals with a passion for yellow-stained pages containing that special “old book” musk, folks who want to read the classics but don’t know where to begin, the everyday reader.
Special because: It manages to gracefully toe the fine line between elitism and education. Surely, not an easy balance for a blog dedicated to the classics of literature to strike. The host and guest reviewers for this blog are both intelligent readers and everyday people. No one will feel condescended to or manipulated after reading these honest and forthright assessments, and don’t worry, they come with spoiler alerts.
Will appeal most to: Beach readers, airport impulse book-shoppers, mystery lovers, non-fiction fanatics, and folks who prefer a fast-paced thriller to a slow meditative monologue.
Special because: Let’s face it, it can be hard to get a recommendation for a book that isn’t necessary “literary,” especially in a bookstore (don’t get defensive, all you highfalutin bookslingers, you know it’s true). This blog fills that gap, reading all the those mystery series, self-help guides, and self-published novellas that you aren’t likely to find on the Staff Picks wall at your local seller, and reviewing them with candor and panache.
5. HTML Giant
Will appeal most to: Hipsters, fans of street art and formless poetry, would-be Beats, lovers of surrealist parlor games and all things Dada, those who’ve read everything and want a mainline into what’s hot on the literary scene today, experimental writers and artists of all walks.
Special because: Edited and maintained by indie author Blake Butler and friends, this blog features input, interviews, and rants from some seriously up-and-coming literary darlings. We’re not talking yawn-inducing, formulaic novel producing graduates of the Iowa Writers workshop. These fools write from their guts, and sometimes the result is bloody. For anyone wondering where the lifeblood of literature is pumping, HTML Giant will be a tremendous relief.