100 blogs PC World loves

If you are short of online reading material, try PC World – 100 Blogs We Love, "our favorite stops in the blogosphere, covering everything from high tech to low comedy and all manner of pursuits in between". Of these, I’ve looked at about 10, subscribed to three or four in the past, and subscribe to one currently. But don’t let me stop you from checking out the list! There are categories to suit everyone, and each recommended blog gets a brief one-liner of description.

Several nice sides to Tony

I never thought I would write anything about Tony Blair (et al.) on this blog, but I have just read the most wonderful post about him on Material Witness. As Typepad ate my comment over there, I will provide a link to the Material Witness post here. It is a lovely story and shows several sides, charming ones, to a leading politician — the likes of some of which I have read nowhere else.

Tony Blair, Nicole Kidman and the unfavourable comparison.

I’m smiling.

I know I said this already, but…

I am so glad that Pundy is back.

"I guess Hitler, a master of propaganda, would have been a brilliant blogger. George Bush, well, maybe his grasp of the English language has prevented him from using this means of attack. He is obliged to use more direct action. Soldiers with guns are more loquacious, though not necessarily more persuasive, especially when they don’t speak the language, in any sense of the word, of the people they are trying to convert."

Just read on, and keep reading. (Warning, there’s a novel there too so you may not be back for some time.)

Another nice blog you got me into

Writer, rejected kindly came over to comment on my post of the other day, The Book Depository on POD. Here’s the comment: "Thanks for the infor. POD certainly does bypass the long and nauseating period of getting a whole lot of rejections. Check out a humorous take on literary rejections at Literary Rejections on Display."

Never one to ignore good advice, I did just that. Here’s a sample post, Sour grapes of wrath: "Wow! An anonymous reader posted the following searing comment on my blog today: "Two words for you, my friend–sour grapes. Aren’t you just a little embarressed [sic] to put these up on your blog, removing your info (how convenient) but not the agent/editors?With your poor me attitude, if I were an agent, I wouldn’t touch yo [sic] with a ten foot barge pole. Grow up–you make other writers look bad. Getting published is hard. Whining, I guess, is easy." I haven’t been told off like this in a long time. Probably ever."

You can see (but if you are like me, not read very well) lots of rejection slips (which authors can send in if they like), posted by "a published, award-winning author of fiction and creative nonfiction–but whatever. In the eyes of many, I am still a literary reject. Remember this: someone out there will always say no."

Crazy, doomed, but slightly hopeful

This description could be applied to me, but on this occasion it is how Anthony Cheetham (chairman of Quercus and The Friday Project) is applying it to a publishing system out of touch with reality and inefficient, in his Bookseller column (15 June page 22).

He asks why booksellers aren’t making more money (in the UK). The chain stores are getting as good a deal as is possible from the suppliers (60 per cent discounts, return of stock for credit, and shelf space, as we know, billed to the publisher). The way Mr Cheetham sees it, there is too much attention given to the 1 per cent of books that are mass-market. "The industry’s big players are relentlessly focused on seeking out that fraction of 1 per cent, piling them high, and discounting them as deeply as they dare".

The craziness of this is that readers are not a homogeneous mass market, he writes, but a "complex series of layered and overlapping communities with different tastes and interests." It can’t last (hence the "doomed"). The internet is fostering special interest communities at an exponential rate; in the USA, mass market sales are greatly reduced, and in the UK, Borders is now looking at ways to restore autonomy to branches rather than to control from the centre.