Monday, July 19, 2010

A Little Stock Taking

We're taking a look at our blogging efforts here at the Ape, trying to see what we've done, what we haven't done, what we do well, and what we don't. As part of that process, here are some hits and misses from our recent activity (the idea for this came from ProBlogger's 7 Links Exercise).

1. Our second post (supposed to be the first post, but our first posted has already been recently recycled):
Our Kind of Guy: a re-post of a story from the New Yorker about an inveterate book collector. We don't do as much re-posted+commentary as we thought we might, but maybe we should reconsider that.

2. A post we enjoyed writing: 
The Top Twenty Literary Characters of the Last Twenty Years: This was a hoot. Not sure if the list is a good one or not, but it got us to think about what we've read and what has stuck with us (and why).

3. A post that had a great discussion:
The amount and quality of interaction we've had around our Reading and the Gender Gap series has been a pleasant surprise. This segment, Reading and the Gender Gap Redux, focused on book blogging and, perhaps not surprisingly, spurred some interesting thinking.

4. A post on someone else's blog you wish you'd written:
A couple of weeks ago, there was interweb conversation about the phrase "having time to read." We weighed in as did many others, but Nymeth's thoughts over at Things Mean A Lot seemed to strike the right chord/ Here's an excerpt.  
Obviously I WANT people to read – I’m very passionate about literature, and I want more people to experience the many, many splendid things books have to offer. I want to share this thing that I love so much, but I worry that the prescriptive approaches I sometimes see, particularly in educational contexts, will backfire.
The post was personal, passionate, and carefully considered. We strive for all three.  

5. Your most helpful post:
This is a bit difficult to judge, but from re-posting and re-tagging, the Swiss Army 10 feature seems to have had some follow-through. The goal was to offer general purpose recommendations that are both serious and entertaining.  We've been meaning to get back to this with a variation, tentatively titled 10 Readable Classics. Sound interesting?

6. A post with a title you are proud of:
We're not terrible good at titling, either for SEO or for entertainment value, but we kind of liked The Special Disappointment of a Failed Conceit. It summarized our review of Aimee Bender's The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, while not so gently mocking it. We thought it clever....ish.

7. A post you wish more people had read:
It was an early post, so it's perhaps not surprising that it didn't get as many eyeballs as some others, but Hoping for an End to Fate was the first post we wrote that we felt like said something in a style we're aiming for: considered, serious, readable, and a wee bit humorous. It also was commentary on a literary idea, born out of a reading experience---a kind of writing somewhere between review and criticism.


  1. Skip, you missed your May 3 comments on The New Yorker's article re: the state of E publishing, which I thought was particularly strong and insightful. You should give yourself some props for that one!

  2. This is a great idea...I'm tempted to steal it! :)

  3. 2manybooks- Oh yea, that one was pretty good too. Maybe a better fit for #5 than what I picked.

    "steal" away, the folks who started intended it to be spread widely. I found the exercise pretty helpful actually.

  4. Couldn't agree more with 2manybooks - that was one of my favorite of your posts, too. Your BEA summary, too!