#Follow Friday 006
Edward Champion: Reluctant Habits / Bat Segundo Show @drmabuse
I don’t know how I’ve been missing Reluctant Habits–a tech/lit/culture/arts blog with sauce–for however long it’s been chugging along. I stumbled across Edward Champion a month ago on Twitter, and I’m glad I did. I also don’t know how Champion finds the time to assemble the website, run the Bat Segundo Show, and read his top 100 novels from the Library of America (along with the books, films, and art that is regularly reviewed). It’s as if he had a menage of Brooklyn Elves, hurriedly turning out new material in the basement of the Flatbush apartment. I just try to get my dishes done between a blog post or two, and I have been, admittedly, switching from novels and books to essays and short stories.
What should you read first? Try the recent, um, tiff? between Champion and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Tom Lutz regarding the future of book reviewing. Be sure to read Lutz’ rebuttal in the comments below.
Also be sure to read his self-described “investigatory piece” on the advent of independent bookstores charging customers to attend author readings and signings.
Futhermore, the best gem has to be the Bat Segundo Show (“A Cultural Podcast in Tenebrous Standing”), a quirky (I love quirky) give-and-take with writers. I was also surprised, but not really, to see one of my mentors, Tayari Jones (featured previously in our #Follow Friday), in the header. Champion posts excerpts of the podcasts, so it’s worth reading those to find the real personalities, even if they are speaking of literary works you’ve never read (or heard of) before. I suggest starting with the most recent guest, Jesús Ángel García (badbadbad).
Go to the A-Z guide of guests, and review the more-than-400 guests Champion has compiled. Quite impressive, really. Find someone you adore and have a listen. Then find someone you have never heard of, and give them a try. Personally, I’m going to download the Berkeley Breathed episodes (#119, #120) this weekend.
Ash Bruxvoort: English Major’s Junk Food @ashbrux
For something fun and relaxing, I suggest trying out Ash Bruxvoort’s English Major’s Junk Food, a rather fun read from, yes, an English student at the University of Iowa—one of the major destinations of some of my former students and employees and peers at Champaign-Urbana.
What you can find on here: reviews on books and essays, the “Sunday Salon,” missives on literary news (bookstores, book festivals, etc.), and a self-imposed challenge to read Montaigne. While Bruxvoort’s blog may be a little off the radar, that’s what makes it fun, original, and refreshing. And it has some quirk to it, too.
Syd Gill: Post Scripts of a Paper Bag Princess @Syd_Gill
Now here comes my admission of my secret passion for book covers. I generally don’t speak of it for fear of losing my manhood (just kidding). But working with and developing books has brought a newfound appreciation for the subtleties and difficulties with designing book covers, and, moreover, e-book covers. On several occasions the staff I work with has come up with something we thought was inventive, original, and meaningful … until the first few test-subjects rip us to shreds. It’s amazing how differently individuals can interpret artwork and visual imagery.
I bring this to everyone’s attention to preface the fact that Syd Gill seems to be a delightful person, and she is offering services for graphic design, including e-book design. You can find her rates and information on her services page. She also has her regular blog here, where she posts various musings, but I recommend perusing her category Click, Clack, Write.