S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

On writing about books and authors --

Writing about books is not the primary focus of my blogging.  For that I recommended, in a post in October of 2009, a literary blogger who maintains the Maud Newton: Blog.  Here is one of her posts about a reading of one of her essays in a published collection titled Love Is a Four Letter Word.  Newton is a great writer and a reviewer of books of all kinds.

Since I learned to read I have consumed and cherished good books.  As a reader I joined the popular website, GoodReads.  Over the years I have written a few reviews myself, nothing to compare, of course.  And I have written about authors as well, not formal reviews, but with a focus of what they had written that interested me.  As a blogger, my posts are generally about national politics and world affairs.  In that vein the first such piece, written on July 19, 2005 was about the bookThe World Is Flat, by Thomas Friedman.  Luckily ". . . cliff notes" was in the post title.  It landed my post in position #10 of 104,000 in the Google search.  I was surprised and pleased by the popularity of my post, and have been writing about good books ever since.

My first formal book review was written on November 9, 2007.  I was offered a review copy by the publisher of Stone Cold, written by David Baldacci.  (Here is Amazon's current info about the book).  I have no idea how they found me, except that I have long blogged about the Middle East, national security and national intelligence subjects.  Stone Cold is a novel touching on those themes.  Being an anxious-to-please first time reviewer, my review was timely to the date of publication and, for a few days it remained in the top 20 of a Google search.  It has since disappeared from the first few pages in a current search.

What seems to make terrorists tick has always been an area of fascination for me.  After having watched a great C-SPAN feature on the subject I wrote a whole series of posts.  I concluding it March 18, 2008, with a post on Leaderless Jihad.  Forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman was the author of the book about Middle Eastern terrorists on which he presented so brilliantly on TV.   (This is the current info from Amazon about the book). Today my post remains at #17 of 5300 in a Google search.

Nonfiction is the literary form I prefer, and I remain fascinated by political biography and autobiography.  One of my (s)heroes is the first female Secretary of State, Madelaine Albright.  She served under President Bill Clinton, another of my heroes. Her memoir is entitled Madam Secretary, and I wrote at length about her fine book in a post on January 8, 2009. (Here is Amazon's info about the book).  Today, I often refer to her memoir when I want to find out about the background of the Camp David peace negotiations that happened just before President George W. Bush's inauguration.  I started blogging in March of 2005 in an oppositional reaction to the aggressive invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration.

The author of my most recent book review written on August 31, 2010, also had a negative reaction to the war in Iraq.  Barefoot In Baghdad, was written by Minal Omar, an American Muslim woman born in Saudi Arabia who came to the U.S. at the age of 6 months. Here is more about the book, a memoir  that tells of her living and working in Iraq on behalf of women during the early years of the war. It is now #56 of 103,000 in Google search.  I highly recommend this book, by the way.  Omar has returned to the United States.  We are on the way out of Iraq and the Middle East peace process is still stalled.  According to the well-respected Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat, Camp David still has a bearing.  However, Erakat recently stated that President Obama's midterm election losses will not affect  the current peace process.
Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via Wikipedia

My review was another case of being sent a review copy by a publisher, who somehow found out my areas of interest and my contact information.  I seem to be on a number of types of Email lists.  I get news releases from publicists who want my readers to know about expert speakers who are out and about. I still get a significant number of offers of books to be mailed to me for review.  I do not accept any books about which I am uninterested.   And I must confess that I do not always get reviews written about the books I receive.  Some I cannot finish out of boredom, some I find to be pretty inadequate and not worth the effort to write even a negative review.  It has been an interesting side benefit of blogging and one with which I always try to operate in good faith, even if imperfectly.

[11/7/10: Post date]

My Other Blogs: Check out my Amplify blog for synopses of current news stories. My creative website is Making Good Mondays. Follow me at Twitter. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the home page for all my websites.

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