While the rest of the world blogs about what they had for breakfast, book lovers have other fish to fry. Covering everything from crime to horror, Henry James to Harry Potter, bibliophiles are producing some of the most stimulating and entertaining work on the web. Not incidentally, they're at the forefront of the forces revolutionising the publishing industry. From Web sites to Weblogs, podcasting to social networking, book lovers have shown there's more to the internet than a dancing dog on YouTube.
This book celebrates the individuals who have taken their shared love of literature into cyberspace. Authors, booksellers, publishers and reviewers are feted, while the big corporations seeking control of the written word are confronted. Little-reported issues are addressed, such as the radical writers, disillusioned with mainstream publishing, who have found outlets for their work on the web. There's also an absorbing piece on the brewing civil war between newspaper critics and book bloggers. The book's upbeat, informal style captures the spirit of these exciting times.
Sadly, the message is obscured by the medium. Throughout the book, typographical errors keep stubbornly appearing. It's nothing dramatic, but just enough to irritate. Even the final sentence can't escape a distracting typo.
Misplaced letters aren't the only problem. Rebecca Gillieron's sixty, seventy, and (in a couple of horrific instances) ninety-word sentences make some passages heavy going. The book’s usefulness as a reference work is limited by an inconsistent use of web addresses and the absence of an index.
What rescues the book are the extracts from literary blogs themselves. Knowledgeable, witty and wordy-wise, book bloggers are clearly a talented bunch. Some may be brutally honest, but most are as ready to shower roses on writers they like as they are to deliver raspberries to those they don't. I especially enjoyed the plain-speaking Dovegreyreader and the entertaining book/daddy, but all of the bloggers featured in the book deserve to be there.