Monday, 12 September 2011

BBAW 2011 (Monday) - These Are A Few Of My Favourite Blogs

Welcome, one and all, to another round of BBAW themed posts.  If you've dropped by this way before, nice to see you again - if you're a newcomer around these parts, thanks for stopping by!  Today, it's our chance to spread the love and tell the world (or, at least, the blogosphere) all about those bloggers who make our online existence just that little bit sweeter :)

My blog is not one of the most popular blogs out there, and the type of books I prefer to blather on about are not everyone's cup of tea.  It's no surprise then that the bloggers I want to talk about today might also be described in this way - which is not to say that they're not popular (they are), or that they're not excellent (because they definitely are).  It's just that they're, well, a little different.  In a good way.  So, without further ado, let's go and meet my wonderful choices...

The first person I'd like to introduce you to is Violet from Still Life With BooksViolet is a Kiwi living in Australia, and her blog, as well as presenting occasional reviews of literary fiction, is focused heavily on non-fiction.  Personally, I'm not a big fan of reading about things that have actually happened, preferring instead to immerse myself in someone else's imagination, but Violet does a wonderful job of making her choices (often biographies of writers, painters and other notables of times past) sound enticing, even to someone like me.  One particular area of interest is the Bloomsbury group of writers, so if you have a hankering for knowing more about the lives and loves of Woolf and her contemporaries, this is a great blog to peruse at your leisure :)

Next, we'll move on from a diet of biographies and memoirs to one of (mostly) fictional delights - but mainly from the nineteenth century.  The enigmatically named Amateur Reader, from the aptly-named Wuthering Expectations, is one of my favourite sources for new avenues to explore when it comes to all things classical.  In addition to the obvious wealth of knowledge concentrated in one person, the other feature of this blog is the intense focus on literary works which is displayed.  Where the majority of blogs will devour, digest, review and move on in a very short time-frame, Wuthering Expectations is a forum for a prolonged, detailed discussion of aspects of a particular work of fiction.  Now if five consecutive posts on dialogue in one of Trollope's Barchester Chronicles doesn't appeal, I will understand.  If, however, that sounds perfect for you, well, you know where to go...

My third choice today tends towards the (slightly) more contemporary, but still opts for more than his fair share of left-of-centre choices.  Gary, from The Parrish Lantern, produces an eclectic range of reviews on all manner of literary delights, with a growing preference for translated fiction and (especially) poetry.  He has been very active with the Japanese Literature Challenge and has tempted me into thinking about giving certain writers (e.g. Bolano, Borges) a go - writers I really should have looked at by now :(  It's always good to have people like Gary to give you a bit of a shove when you need it...

...and when it comes to people giving you a friendly tap on the shoulder, reminding you to take a peek outside your own little corner of the world, there are none better than the incomparable, and inimitable, Stu Allen - or, as he is otherwise known, Winston's Dad.  The owner of the most famous bulldog in the blogosphere is a fierce champion of translated fiction, devouring dozens of novels, novellas and short-story collections originally written in a language other than English, whilst also promoting the publishers who are game enough to venture into this area.  With his idiosyncratic style, his frequent posting and his unwavering resolve to get good foreign writing out there (to the extent that he recently apologised for posting about too many books from the U.K and U.S.!), Stu is a vital part of the blogging world, and one whom many would miss were he to decide to spend more time with his family - or his dog :)

I wish I had the time, the space and the energy to go on and mention several more special bloggers, but (bluntly speaking) I don't.  There are many other bloggers I could have mentioned here (Eva of A Striped Armchair and Iris of Iris on Books are two I may have chosen were they less popular!), but these are the ones I thought perhaps don't get a lot of press.  These four people produce wonderful work in niche areas and don't get the praise, and attention, they deserve.  Let's hope that changes today :)