March 24, was The Millions’ second birthday. In the year since my last “happy birthday” post, blogs have become firmly mainstream. It’s become difficult to find a person who asks the once common question, “What’s a blog?” The book blog world has become amazingly robust in the last year, meriting frequent mentions in the mainstream media and providing a real alternative to newspaper book coverage that manages, at best, to reach some of the readers some of the time. Based on the many emails I get, book blogs have become a venue of conversation (and a potential outlet for promotion) for authors and publishers. For those who bemoan the stagnation of the literary world – and all of the book bloggers seem to do it from time to time – we are in the midst of a shift, if not yet a revolution, in national (and international) literary discussion, which has migrated from book club meetings and bookstore aisles out into the open. I am regularly delighted when a Millions reader, and book lover, leaves a comment or sends me an email, thus entering the conversation. I also love the loose give and take among the several dozen book blogs and the way themes will propagate across the blog landscape one after another until there is a dense web of conversation floating among us in the ether. The best thing about this is it appears to be just the beginning. I have ten times as many regular visitors as I did at this time a year ago, and new book blogs appear almost weekly it seems, adding further depth to the discourse. When I started, I just figured it might be fun to write about books as a way to make use of all the time I spent surrounded by them at the bookstore. Everything that’s happened beyond that has been gravy. Thanks for two great years, Millions readers (and contributors)!
To kick off 2010, we at The Millions are thrilled to announce that Emily St. John Mandel has joined us as a regular contributor. Emily lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel, Last Night In Montreal, was recently published by Unbridled Books; her second novel, The Singer’s Gun, will be published by the same press in May 2010. Her pieces for The Millions are collected here. Welcome Emily!
Sorry things have been quiet around here. I’m heading to Washington, DC, for the weekend to attend my brother’s college graduation. As luck would have it, Book Expo is being held in the city this year, so my plan is to stop in and check things out. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in a few dispatches about the goings on at the year’s biggest book event. If you happen to be in town, feel free to stop by the LBC party, the details of which are contained within the image below.In the meantime, things will be mostly quiet around here. Also, if anyone would like to add more recommendations to the list WWII books in the comments of my last post, that would be awesome. I’m loving the suggestions so far and thinking about doing a standalone post on the recommendations next week.
I just got off the phone with Liane Hansen of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. The show asked me to be a part of their Summer Reading series, which asks a guest each week what they’ve been reading, what they’ll read next, and what they’d read if they had all the time in the world. Hopefully, I don’t sound too nervous (it was my first time on the radio – a little nerve-wracking). But if you want to tune in, it’ll be on midway through the show’s second hour tomorrow. The segment will be posted on their website as well, so I’ll post a link here after it airs.Update: You can now listen to the segment online if you missed it on the radio.
Mrs. Millions and I will be departing tomorrow for a trip to Greece and Turkey. Of all the many things to be excited about, we are most excited about the food. And in Turkey, we will have a local tour guide in the form of Emre, our longtime Turkish correspondent here at The Millions.We’re trying to travel very light, just a backpack each, and that doesn’t leave much room for reading material. We allowed ourselves to each select a paperback (and a magazine or two) and presumably we will swap the paperbacks if we finish them before our trip is over. Mrs. Millions is bringing The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, and I have decided to read Maqroll for a second time. I’m also bringing the latest New Yorker, which is, regrettably, the Style Issue.While I’m gone, the rest of the gang at The Millions will be taking over. See you soon!