Reviews of Keeping the House

Reviews of Keeping the House by Ellen Baker are pouring in, courtesy of the ever-vigilant Dave Lull. Here are some links:

Local author writes about World War II era (Duluth News Tribune).

Not so desperate (The Stanford Daily)

Writers matter — to each other, especially (Road to Random House blog)

Keeping the House is more rewarding than it seems (Livinggirlread blog)

For your reading pleasure (Not Afraid of the F Word blog)

"Ellen Baker and her fabulous debut novel KEEPING THE HOUSE recently kept me from doing too many things I should have been doing, but I loved every minute of it. In these pages you’ll meet the Mickelsons–a sad, fascinating, resilient family. Their story spans from the late 1890s to 1950 and it’s full of family secrets and regrets and characters you’ll carry around with you long after the final line."

War Stories – a post from Ellen Baker’s Keeping the House blog. Ellen’s website is here.

View from the country club

Here’s a "different" view of blogging, expressed recently by a publishing industry analyst: "We are losing valuable dialogue, debate and fresh perspectives in this world of shrinking personal horizons, where the new technologies facilitate tunneling deeper and narrower. Professional, and personal discourse is the weaker for it and we all suffer the loss of challenges to our internal biases, and spark and stimulation from voices far outside our normal communications and chatter."

So, according to this view, blogging enables one to dig a safe little hole and stick in it with a few other like-minded types, reinforcing each other’s prejudices and disincentivising one from seeking fresh stimuli. And, as the writer is lamenting, making it hard for the salesperson to break in.

…"bloggers routinely refer to others with first names only, a snobbish practice signaling how "in" they are. Blogrolls, useful to some degree, are double-edged, in that bloggers cluster into groups that link to each other. The same speakers appear again and again on panels, setting up cliques as narrow as any country club set."

Well, it’s a view. Although I’ve found blogging to be a mind-expanding activity, so are lots of other things. And it is true that the interactions one has while blogging are tightly controlled. On the other hand, it adds an enormous efficiency to finding topics of interest, and to being able to interact at all (for me in my situation when I started blogging, the alternative was usually "no interaction"). The writer is looking at the issues from the perspective of publishing challenges: how a publisher can break into these "tight little communities" and get their members to branch out into new, networky-style products. But this is just another way of saying that everyone is too busy doing what they are doing and struggling with the information overload, to be as interested as they might be in trying new things (more power to those silver surfers!).