Sorry about the lack of posts over recent days: I am feeling poorly. However, this intermission-type post will serve a function. I've been meme-awarded the Premios Dardo by excellent fellow Australian blogger Tuesday in Silhouette.
The aim of said Dardo is to promote "the values that every blogger shows in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day ... with the intention of promoting fraternisation between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web." Once you get the meme, you pass it on to 15 blogs you think fit that bill.
So here are the blogs I want to promote in the same manner, because they are, frankly, ace. As an added bonus, GenderAnalyzer will attempt to uncover the sex of the blog authors.
In no particular order...
ASYLUM: John Self's regularly updated book review site is probably the best-written, wisest and wittiest on the net. The only reason I say probably rather than definitely is that I have not actually read EVERYTHING ever published on the web, but give me time. GenderAnalyzer says: "We think http://theasylum.wordpress.com/ is written by a man (67%)."
THE AGE OF UNCERTAINTY: Steerforth's fine blog on books, life, wanderings around crumbling seaside British towns and the madness of human beings is a place I visit daily, and one of the most entertaining blogs I've come across. GenderAnalyzer says: "We guess http://ageofuncertainty.blogspot.com/ is written by a man (52%), however it's quite gender neutral."
A JOURNEY AROUND MY SKULL: If there's a strange, fascinating, peculiar or ugly/beautiful book or writer out there that Will hasn't yet posted about (with many, many glorious images), then it's only a matter of time. If you send him money, he'll get there faster. Appropriately enough, his transgressive literature has GenderAnalyzer all confused: "We think http://ajourneyroundmyskull.blogspot.com/ is written by a woman (64%)."
CROCKETT AND POWELL and THE BEDSIDE CROW are the blogs of two UK bookshops which I can't patronise due to the 16,000km gap between my house and their front windows. I wish things were different, as their blogs are very funny colections of bookselling anecdotes and observations about the dementedness of modern life. GenderAnalyzer says: "We think http://www.crockattandpowell.blogspot.com/ is written by a man (88%)," but finds The Bedside Crow burlier, with "We have strong indicators that http://booksellercrow.typepad.com/the_bedside_crow/ is written by a man (97%)."
I'VE BEEN READING LATELY: Levi Stahl's fascinating blog of thoughts and mini-essays springboarding from his latest reading almost invariably puts me to shame with his articulacy and perceptiveness. However, since GenderAnalyzer only has him as being 63% manly, and me as 99% manly, I guess I could take him in a fight.
LIFE HAPPENS BETWEEN BOOKS: Lucy Fishwife is similarly wise, and still sane despite being a bookseller. She's also very funny. GenderAnalyzer says: "We think http://lucyfishwife.blogspot.com/ is written by a woman (64%)." Which, given she admits to being told she looks like Axl Rose, she'll probably appreciate.
SHADOWPLAY: David Cairns' "wilfully eccentric movie blog" more than lives up to its subtitle. It's hilarious and fascinating. That Penguin were willing to sign up David Thomson to write about 1000 movies even after his embarrassing wankfest of a biography of Nicole Kidman, and yet Mr Cairns doesn't have a book deal, shows that publishers are a strange and money-hating lot. GenderAnalyzer: "We guess http://dcairns.wordpress.com/ is written by a man (54%), however it's quite gender neutral."
MUSINGS FROM A MUDDY ISLAND: Juliet Doyle does what she says she does--lives on a muddy island and muses. Fortunately the musings (on books, life, design, etc) are invariably interesting, and the photos she takes of Mersea Island are beautiful. Her blog is a tag-free, meme-free zone, so she might not appreciate this post. Keep it under your hats. GenderAnalyzer: "We think http://julietdoyle.blogspot.com/ is written by a woman (70%)."
THE YEAR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN: Downtown Guy is bravely reading nothing but dystopian and end-of-the-world books for an ever-growing period of time. He has not yet gone mad. However, it seems to be playing merry hell with his hormones, as GenderAnalyzer says: "We guess http://epicdystopia.blogspot.com/ is written by a woman (59%), however it's quite gender neutral."
POP SENSATION: Rex Parker collects old pulp paperbacks, and then shares the delights of their covers and contents with the world in hilarious fashion. As befits someone who lives surrounded by hard-bitten gangsters, leathery cowboys and long-legged redhaired femme fatales, he's 99% a man according to GenderAnalyzer.
THE BOOK DESIGN REVIEW: Joseph Sullivan's blog was required reading for me long before I started rabbiting on about covers myself. Every post takes a single recent cover, and subjects it to some pithy, elegant analysis. Pithy, girly analysis, apprently, since GenderAnalyzer goes bonkers and says: "We think http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/ is written by a woman (86%)."
BEYOND THE COVERS/THE BOOK DESIGNERS: Ian Shimkoviak's blog about his own and other people's book design work, as well as startling imagery collected from around the net, is a fascinating insight into the process which goes into making books look good. By this point, though, GenderAnalyzer has lost the plot: 'We think http://thebookdesigners.blogspot.com/ is written by a woman (62%)."
I'm not sure that blogs 14 and 15 really fit the bill, since rather than sharing positive values they basically exist to point and laugh at other people's foibles. However, I visit them daily and wish they were updated hourly. PHOTOSHOP DISASTERS is a place no designer wants to be highlighted, since it exposes shoddy Photoshop work for all to see (and it's 66% womanly). SORRY I MISSED YOUR PARTY exists solely to make mock of photos from parties posted on Flickr, and it's very cruelly funny. It's 96% womanly, despite being written by a man.
Right, that's the lot. As mentioned above, GenderAnalyzer thinks there's a 99% chance Caustic Cover Critic is written by a man, so I must be a hell of a lot more masculine on the keyboard than I am in real life.