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)!
If you’re arriving here because of my appearance on Midmorning, welcome! By way of a little background, I started The Millions in early 2003 when I was a bookseller at an independent bookstore in Los Angeles. I’ve since moved on from there, but the blog has stuck around. We now have several contributors besides me, and we write daily about books and other cultural topics.Regarding the topic of today’s show, you can read some additional thoughts of ours in these posts.Bandaids for Broken Book SectionsThe Era of the Trusted Fellow ReaderAuthority, an Anniversary, and Book ReviewingWe also suggest that you take a look at our Book Review Index, which includes all the reviews ever penned for The Millions by both our regular contributors and our many, many guests. The reviews range from our longest considerations, to our briefest squibs, to appreciations and ruminations. And don’t miss our Year in Reading, our end-of-the-year series for which we asked dozens of well-known writers and bloggers to tell us about the best book they read all year.Finally, if you like what you see here, please bookmark the site or subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks!Update: A link to listen to the segment should be up at the MPR site soon (I went on around minute 35). If you heard the segment, let us know what you thought. Leave a comment below.
Today, we are officially adding a new regular contributor to The Millions. Those of you who have been reading The Millions for the last several months will be familiar with Sonya’s writing (collected here). Particularly recommended are Sonya’s essay on the complications of choosing a book cover design for her forthcoming novel and her clever piece about flirting with books. Her bio:Sonya Chung is the author of Long for This World, which will be released by Scribner in March 2010. She is currently at work on a second novel, Sebastian & Frederick. You can learn more about Sonya and her work at www.sonyachung.com.Welcome Sonya!
The NYC Walking Tour is this Saturday, May 2nd, and we’ve got an update to the itinerary and a couple of other notes. First, the itinerary – we have swapped McNally Jackson and Housing Works because Housing Works opens at noon that day. The times listed here are our best guesses, so if you are hoping to meet up with us partway through, keep that in mind. Here is the updated itinerary:11:00 – 11:30: Three Lives (154 West 10th Street at Waverly Place) – we’ll meet at Three Lives at 11am.25 minutes walking11:55 – 12:25: McNally Jackson (52 Prince St. between Mulberry and Lafayette)12:30 – 1:00: Around the corner to Housing Works Used Book Cafe (126 Crosby St. between Prince and Houston) Housing Works is generously offering a free cup of coffee from their cafe with the purchase of any book.10 minutes walking1:10 – 1:25: Bluestockings (172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington)1:25 – 2:35: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (about 3 miles – folks who are daunted by the distance can take the F train from Bluestockings to BookCourt)2:35 – 3:05: BookCourt (163 Court St. between Pacific and Dean)3:15 – whenever: And we’ll wrap things up at Freebird Books & Goods (123 Columbia St. between Kane & Degraw), which will host a little backyard party with refreshments.A note on the weather: Right now, the forecast is for “showers.” Unless the outlook worsens considerably, we will most likely go ahead with the tour as scheduled on Saturday and brave a few raindrops (if it’s bad enough, we can take the F train from Bluestockings to BookCourt instead of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.) I’ll post a last update late Friday or early Saturday, and if you want to be sure to get the info, RSVP to [email protected], or join our Facebook group.