Tuesday, 13 January 2009

A Non-Covery Aside

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.


That Hank said...

Excellent! I'm honored, and I'll pass it on. Plus, that's a great list - I'll be checking each of those out, because your opinion is always worthwhile.

Ricky Lee Grove said...

Great collection of blogs. Thanks for doing this and I hope you feel better soon.

Ian Koviak said...

wonderful. thank you. I appreciate the plug.

Will said...

Thank you!

You are 163 percent better man than I,

Will @ AJRMS

Steerforth said...

Thanks for the mention - it's good to be in such esteemed company (I feel guilty now for moaning about my wife's home of Mersea Island).

I'm not sure what to think about being virtually genderless. Does that mean I'm a 'ladyboy'? I see that Bookseller Crow's 97% male. If I ever meet him I'll have to challenge him to an arm wrestle to reassert my masculinity.

JonathanM said...

Thanks for that!

Lucy Fishwife said...

Sweetheart that's so nice of you! Thank you. And what a nicely-worded award too - I like the fraternisation and signs of affection in the blog world (although I'm not one of those nutters who falls in love with mrsexyman41 online and believes him when he says he's the spit of George Clooney - when in fact he's John Wayne Gacy's meaner older brother). I did one of those gender-analysis things at the Science Museum when we took my niece and nephew there, and I came out as approximately 65-70% female there too, mostly because I can read maps. Damn that Axl Rose.

Rex Parker said...

Thanks for the shout-out. Can't wait to tell my wife how manly I am (or how manly my blog is, anyway).


Will said...

Somehow I thought of you when I saw this cover. Not sure who designed it. Here's the description page.

Drop me an email one of these days -- ajourneyroundmyskull at gmail.

JRSM said...

Wow--I must post that cover. It's fantastic! I will indeed get in touch by email.

Juliet said...

Honoured to receive a mention here - though I'm afraid Musings has been pretty dormant so far this year. Thanks for the link, though. I shall endeavour to live up to it. CCC always a must-visit for me. xxx (Oh, and reasonably encouraging, I suppose, to discover than I'm 70% woman, too!)

JRSM said...

Sorry I didn't drop you a line on your blog, Juliet, but I wasn't sure whether it counted as a meme (and if every winner passes it on to 15 others, it sure as hell sounds like one). I thought you'd stumble across it here sooner or later, though in retrospect that seems a bit presumptuous and rude--sorry about that!