May 8, 2008

Weekly Geeks #2 and Southern Reading Challenge

Dewey asked us to write a post at the end of the week about how the new policy of adding links to other blog reviews was working for us. In my original post, I said that I wouldn’t do it retroactively, but then people left me links to their reviews anyway, and many edited their old posts to include links to reviews of mine, and I began to feel guilty. It’s not just a matter of guilt, though: I can see why doing it retroactively is useful. However, I have a largeish amount of old posts to edit, so this will be a long-term project. I will add your links to my old posts. But it might take me a while.

Throughout the week, I reminded people to let me know if they had links to other reviews of the book I was posting about. In most cases I didn’t have much luck, but I imagine that it had to do with the fact that I was either posting about books that were more or less obscure (like the Zipes book) or books that people read before their blogging days (like Daughter of the Forest). I also gave links to old reviews of mine to several bloggers, but I’m a bit behind on that – there are many bloggers that I still plan on sending my links to.

Doing this made me realize that it would be very useful to create a page on my blog where I list the books I've reviewed alphabetically, or by author, or both. This goes along with my plan of creating a page where I list the books I’ve read this year and last year, and a page with my full challenge history. Several bloggers have done this, and I think it's a great idea. I wish I had tabs at my disposal like those of you who use Wordpress do, but I still should be able to work something out. It will be time consuming, though, so who knows when I'll do it.

And now! Resistance is futile. I had too much fun with the Southern Reading Challenge last year to say no. I did entertain the idea of resisting for, oh, an hour or two. But seeing the enthusiasm and the picks of fellow participants was the final straw, and I caved. Here’s what I’ll be reading:
  • The Known World by Edward P. Jones (I mooched it a while ago, and I was planning on reading it for the Pulitzer Project anyway.)
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green (I’ve wanted to read it ever since I read Dewey’s review, and plus, Eva recommends it.)
  • Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician by Daniel Wallace (It's Daniel Wallace! I’ve been looking for an excuse to read this one for some time.)

I finished Persepolis yesterday and I really want to tell you all how great it is, but I’m too tired/lazy today, and I want to do the book justice, so I’ll leave that for tomorrow. I am now diving my time between Roald Dahl and E. Nesbit (the Brothers Grimm are being neglected, I’m afraid) and I love them both. They both have a great sense of humour. I already knew that about Dahl, of course, but this is my first novel by Nesbit and it’s even better than I thought it would be.


  1. It's my southern charm you cain't resist, right? ;) I like your picks and maybe I'll pick up a Wallace or two this year. Thanks for joining and I hope you win some pecans and an autographed book.

  2. I feel so bad...I don't really have anything to write as a follow-up post for Weekly Geeks 2 because I haven't done any reviews or anything. What a slacker, huh?

    I really want to read Looking for Alaska, too. I think I have it on my Book Awards list, so I'd better get to it soon. I'm glad you didn't try to only would have made you miserable. :)

  3. Maggie: It is! You are a wonderful hostess :D I hope you enjoy Daniel Wallace's work!

    Debi, no reason to feel bad...we all have weeks like that. And you're not a slacker, I bet you were just busy with other things. What matters is that you'll be doing it in the future. You're right, resisting would just make me miserable. This way, the worse that can happen is not finishing in time, and I'll still have joined the fun!

  4. hi, I linked your Deathly Hallows and Coraline reviews to mine :)

  5. I haven't put up my list too, Nymeth. Like what you mentioned, some of the book reviews by other bloggers are those I had read years before I started the blog... and anyway, I think it's never too late to start a link to link those book reviews as I'd also like to read what other bloggers think about the books we read. :)

  6. Good reminder to do a follow-up on this one. I've only posted one review so far though, so not much luck for me on that one.

    My blogger layout has tabs at the top, so I know there is a way to do it in blogger. I bet someone with some html experience could help you put in some tabs at the top of your blog. I'd offer my help, but when I mess around with html, I usually manage to screw things up lol.

    btw tomorrow I'll be posting about how I found those keyword searches. (Google analytics) :-)

  7. Creating an alphabetized list of all your reviews is initially a pain and a lot of work but it's such a useful thing to have once you're done. My list took about three months to compile and then I went back and redid the list by author which took another month. It's time though well spent.

  8. Yeah I need to think of a better way to list my reviews. I have them listed accoring to the years I read them with links to reviews where I have them but I may change it in the future. Like you I wasn't doing it retroactively, but then people started sending me links which I still need to add. I will sort it out soon hopefully.

    Challenge addict :p

    Glad you enjoyed Persepolis and Roald Dalh is awesome!

  9. I don't think I'll be able to resist the Southern Challenge either even though I haven't officially signed up. I love southern lit. I look forward to seeing your review for Dahl--he was a childhood favorite of mine!

  10. Yet another reading challenge? :)

    Where do you girls find the stamina.

    The Southern Reading Challenge has been picked up all over the blogsphere. I guess I'm skipping this year because I'm behind on my own reading lists/existing challenges. Good luck with the challenge. Remember to have fun.

    But that said - it seems like a lot of work trying to link all the old reviews. May be easier to just start with your current reviews and work from there.

    Hmm... just a suggestion, if you don't find me too busybody:

    Another way is to keep a separate blog just for your "records".

    If you think the tab for Wordpress is more user friendly, why not set up a Wordpress account just to keep track of your links? You can still post your reviews here, but record the link on Wordpress.

    One tab for every alphabet, like a rolodex for your reviews.

    Am I making sense? This still feels like a heavy undertaking. I am glad I am an Aries very comfortable with chaos, with no sense of organisation. :P

  11. I've been lurking about, checking everyone's choices and I don't think I'm gonna be able to resist the lure of the Southern Book Challenge - I can't wait to read your thoughts on "Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician", it's in my favorite-books-of-all-time top 20!
    And for the record, I think the plan described by Dark Orpheus is probably the simplest fix for your blog dilemma...

  12. I can't wait for your Persepolis review! And Looking for Alaska!

    The tabs thing really depends on what theme you use. I like my Redline theme, but I don't have enough tabs at the top for my needs! I wish I could change the home tab to something more useful, since clicking the blog title brings people to the main home page.

    I'm glad you said that about it taking you a long time to do retroactive links. I got too many request for those to keep up with during this busy week at work, so I'm with you -- I'll do them, but it'll take a while.

  13. Another thing I wanted to say:

    So far I like just listing books by year, but that's because I'm a newish blogger without much of a backlist. I think that for more long-term bloggers, it would be so nice to have an alphabetized list of what you've read.

  14. I have a separate but linked blogger blog (if that makes sense) where I list the books I have read alphabetically by author. I don't have one broken up by years, and I am debating about having a list of books I read each year, but then again there is such a thing as overkill isn't there?

    One thing that I do think is important is to have a decent search facility available, even if it is just the Blogger one. There are lots of people who just gave a list without links, and then there was no way to search for their review link.

    Looking forward to seeing what you thought of Persepolis. I really liked it, and have a review on my blog for it!

  15. An alphabetized list is a good idea. I was wondering about doing that but have only done books read by year so far. Maybe one day.

  16. I have to keep remembering to update my main page with all the books listed - but it is useful - for me as well as my readers!

    You've been tagged BTW

  17. Naida, thank you!

    Melody: Yes, it's never too late. It will take me a while to link everything, but I do think it will be worth the effort.

    Kim: I've been poking around and I found a great tutorial about how to add tabs to blogger...they'd be above my header, and hopefully they would look okay. I'm going to try and do that soon. I know some html, and with the help of the guide I think it will be doable.

    pussreboots: Yes, it is very useful. It will take me some time too, but I will do it.

    Rhinoa: By year is not bad, it just makes it harder for people who are looking for a specific author, for example. And yup, I am an addict :P

    Trish: I can't wait to see what you pick for the Southern Reading challenge.

    Dark Orpheus: lol :P I am determined to have fun, and to quit without guilt the moment a challenge begins to feel like a chore. I like your idea, and I had more or less decided to do that when I came across the neat little tabs tutorial I told Kim about. So I'm going to try and do that, but if it's too hard and/or looks ugly and obtrusive, a separate blog will be the answer. You are definitely making sense, and thanks for the suggestion!

    Ken: I hope you don't resist :P I'd love to see what you'd pick. And to read your reviews, of course. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician will find a place beside The Watermelon King as a favourite of mine. I'm really, really looking forward to reading it.

    Dewey: I think we're not the only ones who will do it slowly. As much as I like the idea, it'd just be too overwhelming to do it all right now. And that's a good point about the Home header works as a link as well, so I don't need one of those. I think that for now a yearly list would be enough for me as well, but once I have those done then an alphabetized list won't be too hard, since I can just copy the links and rearrange them. So I think I'd rather do it soon, and then just keep it updated in the future.

    Marg: Yeah, I guess that once you have an alphabetized list, the yearly ones sort of become redundant, unless you want to have an easily accessible "reading history". And yes, search facilities are important...sometimes I come across books that are really hard to navigate because they have no search box, no tags, and no links to their archives on the side bar...the only way to access older posts is to go on clicking the "older" link at the bottom, and I think that discourages even the most enthusiastic readers.

    Tanabata: Like Dewey was saying, I don't think having both is strictly necessary unless you have been blogging for many years...but I'm an organization freak, so I'll probably do both anyway :P

    Mrs: It is! Thanks for the tag, I'll do the meme at some point this weekend.

  18. Post a note as soon as you make your list, and I'll browse through your titles to add to my reviews. It feels like a TON of work up front (and it is), but it's worth it in the end. I use my own alphabetical list to find posts sometimes.

  19. I'm facing the same problem, I'd like to set up some of those wonderful tabs other people have, but have no idea how to on blogger.....for books read, I think. If I find out how, I will let you know!

  20. Raych: Will do!

    Susan: I used this tutorial and voila! Behold my brand new horizontal menu :D


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