Dead Letters

Correctly, it seems, if belatedly, book blogging is pronounced dead. That the ‘golden age’ of book blogging is passed seems hardly worth debating. The conversation in diminished form is taking place elsewhere or perhaps nowhere. Whatever your passion or interest, blogging itself died as the marketing departments moved in offering swag and the illusion of influence.

Social media, occasionally blamed for distracting fickle blog readers, simply threw some dirt on a coffin that was already being lowered into the ground. For a moment, it seemed to offer an alternative, but was always destined a place for commerce, less agora and more commercial break without the intervening substance. There is still a possibility of connection, of finding a handful of people that get excited by the same set of things, but the anonymity of social media leaves you open to distraction from the type of opinionated men you’d cross the room to avoid at parties. I think a lot about Seth Godin’s comment in his On Being interview, “We are flying too low. We built this universe, this technology, these connections, this society, and all we can do with it is make junk? All we can do with it is put on stupid entertainments. I’m not buying it.”

All sorts of ‘dead’ languages are studied today, some less ‘dead’ than others. Literature may be dead, literary criticism is dying, serious novels are in steep decline, yet we continue to read. There is still the frisson of my RSS reader signalling a new post at This Space or flowerville. The book blog died a long time ago, but keep reading the ones you love as zombies in any part of human culture remain as effective as ever at reducing their subject to the bare, intricately nuanced essentials.