Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise (an excellent blog) has asked me to contribute to a "meme", that of "bloggers who inspire me". I cannot honestly say that I am inspired by bloggers, but I can certainly say that there are many blogs I love and that are important to me in some way, so I will write a bit about those and the people who write them.
Jenny Davidson of Light Reading wrote the first-ever comment at Petrona, and made me realise in a blinding flash the "third way": that the game is an interactive one, and not just about writing posts and reading other blogs. So in that sense, she inspired me. But in another way, too, Jenny was an education to me about blogging, which at that time I had heard a lot more negative things about than positive. Jenny is an unfailingly positive, encouraging, amusing, witty and erudite person who I greatly admire. And to those who dismiss blogging as an activity of teenagers or those of arrested development, Jenny is a Professor of English at Columbia University and a superb triathalonist (if that is a word) as well as having written various highly regarded novels and other books. Yet demonstrating the "small is beautiful" of the Internet as well as the horizon-expanding aspects, Jenny and I turn out to have much shared history concerning the early days of computing in the UK – and a shared penchant for beards? I highly recommend her blog.
Frank Wilson of Books, Inq. runs the blog I myself first began commenting on, in my early blogging days. In those days, Frank was Book Review Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and his posts mainly consisted of links. But usually interesting ones, so I followed up on those, and Frank and I – as well as the mysterious and blogless Dave Lull – discursed on a range of topics. I discovered Frank's generosity when he took my writing seriously to the extent of asking me to review books for his paper, so in that sense, he inspired me to follow the reviewing business so that now I feel more confident about it. Frank is the Sir Galahad of the Blogosphere and I have the highest respect and regard for him. He is now Emeritus Book Review Editor, and as a result his blog tends to contain a higher proportion of reflective posts among the linking posts, and it is always thought-provoking and interesting to read Frank's wise and mature thoughts.
Debra Hamel (the Deblog) is the third main person with whom I gelled in my nascent blogging life, when I knew more about RSS than blogs per se. I kept bumping up against Debra in blog searches in my attempts to find fellow-readers, either via fiendish puzzles, or via her book reviews, or via her enterprises such as Buy a Friend a Book (BAFAB) week. Debra turned out to inhabit a subterranean lair with two delightful children and a scientist husband (and, incidentally, gives the phrase "bedroom coder" new meaning), so we had a lot in common. She also opened my eyes to the possibilities of multi-blog ownership. Since then, Debra has gone stratospheric with innovations such as Twitterlit and Sunday Salon, but I still follow her blog(s), reviews, puzzles, and we still share some wicked posts of mutual amusement via 'Google Reader shared items'. I also discovered another excellent blog via a post of Debra's: Keeper of the Snails, by Clare Dudman – now a good friend, and another person with whom I turned out to have several past intersections.
CrimeFiction Reader of It's a Crime! was the first person I "met" who actually blogged about reading crime fiction. I encountered her in the comment threads of some other blogs, liked what she wrote and her attitude, clicked on her name, and discovered a wonderful universe of CRIME FICTION BLOGGERS! Through her lovely, engagingly written and enthusiastic blog I discovered other similar ones that attracted my enduring interest, not least Material Witness (fantastic reviews written in a way to which I aspire) and….
Euro Crime, the blog of Karen Meek, who runs the fabulous resource of Euro Crime, a free database of books, reviews, news and other information of novels by European authors. Through Karen I have found many an author whose books I've grown to love, for example Helene Tursten, and been invited to various publishers' events, braved a couple of book festivals, met up in person on many a convivial occasion, as well as discovering a few more excellent blogs, one of which is International Noir Fiction and another is a superb gem …..
Crime Scraps, the blog of the self-described short, balding, retired dentist Norman (Uriah) Price (Robinson). Initially focusing on the shared historical interests of Norman and one of my daughters, I paid more attention to the crime authors Norman liked, and hence to my delight discovered Andrea Camilleri and the husband-wife team of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. And, in yet another spooky coincidence, Norman turns out to have lived about two stops down the train from where I now live, and to have practiced within walking distance of my house – a fact I discovered when blogging about how a local fish and chip shop had unaccountably gone upmarket. (Now he is retired, Norman lives in another part of the country.)
There are many other blogs I love and bloggers with whom I very much enjoy interacting. I could go on, and on, but I'll stop there. Please feel free to pick up the baton on your own blog, if you have one.