Bloggers mostly meet each other online, but ocasionally they make contact in person. At the excellent Popular Imagination and The Dawn of Modernism Conference at London University’s Institute of English Studies this week, there was a session in which four literary bloggers talked about their sites to a select audience.
Tanya Izzard’s blog has the rather nice title 20th Century Vox. It’s a collection of full and lucid reviews of twentieth century books, mostly fiction. Do you know Sheila Kaye-Smith’s Joanna Godden, or Compton Mackenzie’s Extraordinary Women? Nor did I – but they look like books worth tracking down.
Simon Thomas’s Stuck in a Book also contains book reviews, often of books as unjustly forgotten as Shaving Through the Blitz by Fanfarlo (G.W.Stonier). There are posts of general commentary and news as well, but what I like most about his site is the list on the right-hand side of 50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About (in no particular order). He hasn’t actually chosen all fifty books yet – this is a work in progress. Of the 37 listed so far, I’ve read ten, and seen films of a couple of others, and he’s right about their quality. I’ll be keeping watch for new items as they appear.
The indefatigable Kate Macdonald was not only a main organiser of this conference, but has recently found the time and energy to create a blog with a difference. Why I Really Like this Book is a series of regular I-Tunes podcasts, each describing and commenting on a book. Kate is a Buchan expert, so it’s no surprise to find John MacNab and The Gap in the Curtain commented on, but there are also accounts of Margery Allingham and Monica Dickens, plus Katy Fox’s Watching the English (an excellent work of pop social anthropology that I once bought for someone as a present, but I managed to read only a quarter of it before Christmas came, unfortunately, and I had to hand it over).
At the conference it was nice to meet several people who knew and followed Great War Fiction; some said they had found some of my posts useful for their own research – so I guess I’d better keep on churning them out.