Saturday 24 September 2011

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

Happy weekend, everyone.  I'm tucked up in bed, feeling better than yesterday but not quite fighting fit just yet.  But fit enough to give you a link, a blog post, and a book.  In fact, as a special treat, let's have two each of all of 'em... and a question for you too.  

Does anyone have any tips for finding out when people link to your blog?  I use Google Alerts, which used to be quite good, but now don't seem to turn up many results - often I find blog posts have linked to me, and I've been unaware of it.  Occasionally I check Technorati, which catches some of them, but I'd like an alerts service that actually does the job....?

1.) The blogs - two whole new-to-me blogs this week, rather than just blog posts!   Firstly, Helen at A Gallimaufry - she's been going for a while, but somehow I've only just spotted her blog.  It has a lovely scrap-booky feel, with beautiful archive photos surrounding her insightful reviews.  How could I not love a blog which has featured reviews of The Love Child and The Skin Chairs?  Go and have a gander.

And secondly, my friend Barbara - my e-friend, that is, whom I've known online for seven years - has finally succumbed and set up this rather beautiful photo-orientated blog, Mi Lady's Boudoir.  Travels and photos and books and delectable things like that.

2.) The books - are both review copies, and rather from the sublime to the ridiculous.  The sublime, from Frances Lincoln publishers, is Enthusiasms by Mark Girouard.  It's a collection of the unusual minutiae of literary exploration, from a neglected clue to Jane Austen's first love affair to the location of Waugh's Brideshead, stopping off at SiaB favourites like Oscar Wilde and Vita Sackville-West.  This one's going to be fun.

But perhaps not as much fun, and certainly not as much guilty pleasure, as the book Michael O'Mara Books sent me - Brendan Sheerin: My Life.  For those not in the know, Brendan is the (international) tour guide on one of my favourite TV programmes - Coach Trip.  It's the world's most budget reality TV programme, utter rubbish but completely compelling.  Friends come around and we watch seven episodes at a time.  This book will doubtless prove as guiltily entertaining.

3.) The links - are both of a bookish nature, quelle surprise.  Lyndsay pointed me in the direction of this - Esquire have named 75 Books Every Man Should Read.  Oddly all but one of them are by men.  Methinks they got confused about Carson McCullers...  Naturally I think this is probably all quite silly, from the idea that men should read different books from women to the idea that men should only read books by men (and Carson McCullers).  But I loves me a list, and couldn't resist it.

Speaking of lists... Laura of Guardian Books sent me a link to their Power 100.  Also clearer list etc. here.  It's the hundred most powerful people in books, including booksellers, authors, publishers, agents... and nary a blogger in sight, which isn't really entirely surprising.

So, twice as many goodies as usual there.  I'm off to bed with a book...


  1. I love literary minutiae (which I couldn't share with anyone until I started blogging) so will be checking out Enthusiasms. Wishing your cold away, Simon!

  2. You and I are suffering from similar afflictions this weekend, Simon. Wishing you everything that I wish for myself i.e get well soon.

  3. Thank you very much for recommending my blog Simon, that was sweet of you!

    I too like the sound of Enthusiasms and would never have encountered it but for your mentioning it. (Like many books.)

    That Guardian list of the most powerful people in the book world was interesting but a bit weird. Is J.K. Rowling really more powerful and influential than any publishing CEO? Malcolm Gladwell more than Richard and Judy?

  4. Hi Simon..sorry to hear you are ill. I recently linked to your blog from the Angela Thirkell group on Facebook. Were you notified?

  5. Very sorry to hear you're ill, hoping you are better soon.

  6. So sorry to hear that you are under the weather, and hope that you are back to full strength soon. Literary minutiae (sigh) - isn't it nice to move in circles (and the blog world) where such is appreciated! :)
    Thanks for the links - I'm off to look at the lists, which of course, I find irresistible. ;)

  7. I hope you are feeling better, off to visit your recommendations now.

  8. Flannery O'Connor's on the list too! So two out of 75 books are by women... Still not a great ratio.

    Enthusiasms sounds intriguing, I want to look it up now.

  9. Interesting post!! I really like this site, and hope you will write more, thanks for your information.

  10. Sakura - thanks! And yes, Enthusiasms seems geared to bloggers and our little obsessions :)

    Lizzy - hope you're feeling better now too!

    Helen - you're welcome :) I agree the Guardian list is a little odd - JKR has sold millions, of course, but she doesn't seem to try and use the influence she could have. How often do you see her name recommending new books? I never have.

    Margaret - I wasn't... but have seen now! Thanks :)

    Nancy - thanks! Almost recovered now, just coughing away to myself quietly...

    Susan - what *is* it about lists that make them so appealing? Goodness knows...

    LindyLou - thank you :)

    Cat - all those women with masculine-sounding names, how confusing! ;) I do get Flannery O'Connor mixed up with Flann O'Brien.. having read nothing by either, of course.

    Alexander - thanks


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