Friday, August 28, 2009

Kepler's Interviews Litlove Blogger "Tales from the Reading Room"

Victoria Best, aka Litlove, the blogger for Tales from the Reading Room has achieved an influential presence on the web. Her articulate, insightful posts have earned her the respect of many followers—her blog has more than 290,902 hits! Tales from the Reading Room is a valued source of literary reviews and insight covering such works as Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson, a wonderful book that takes you on a journey through space- time-flux of self-discovery, or the latest Alan Bennett book The Uncommon Reader “a little comic gem, but also an astute satire into the roots of philistinism."

Litlove also comments on current affairs such as the death of Michael Jackson or Why Britney Spears is who she is. Dr. Best a Lecturer in French at the University of Cambridge, married with one son, two cats, and an awful lot of books, is part of the new wave of anthropologists whose words will give future generations a glimpse of who we were in the twenty-first century. She is currently working on a book about aspects of fantasy and dream in modern French Literature.

JRG: How did you get into blogging?
When I first started blogging, I was a lecturer in French at CambridgeUniversity (teaching mostly literature), and I was taking a chunk of time off work while I recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I really missed the bookish discussions I'd had with my students. Then my husband came across a write-up of Wordpress in a computer magazine, and a couple of days later, I had my blog set up! I was such an internet novice that I found it hard to locate other book bloggers to begin with, but once I'd tracked them down, I was completely hooked. The first rush of infatuation may have passed, but I'm firmly wedded to the blog world now.

JRG: Will you ever be writing a novel?
Throughout my teens and early twenties I dreamed of becoming a writer, and churned out an awful lot of mildly terrible novels. Then academic writing took over, and I found I was much better at that than fiction. Over the next twelve years I wrote four books of literary criticism and a lot of learned articles and chapters as part of my job. Then the wheel turned again, as blogging really has changed my life: I only teach part-time now, have a literary agent, and am working on a couple of non-fiction projects. But don't hold your breath - it's a big change over from academia to the commercial world, and I'm happy to take my time. All it shows is that where your dreams are concerned, you should treat them seriously but also go with the flow - it's amazing how things turn out!

JRG: How do you get inspired?
I fall in love with ideas on a regular basis. And I still thrill to the sensation of reading a sentence that perfectly encapsulates a thought or feeling. I'm so grateful to books for having brought me so much pleasure and interest over the years; just thinking about that usually sets me off.

JRG: Who are the bloggers you follow?
Oh I follow so many - it's a packed blogosphere full of talented people. I'm a big fan of:

Danielle A work in Process
Stefane So Many Books
Dorthy OF Books and Bicycles

They are all dedicated, insightful bloggers and virtual friends from the moment I found their sites. I should also give a mention to:

Quotidian Vicissitudes
Because they are so eloquent and funny, and to Incurable:
A Writer's Mind

Because I do appreciate gentle souls with lovely writing styles.

JRG: Where do you see the future of blogging?
We're at the start of something significant here; essentially blogging is the first new genre of writing, and community writing at that, that has appeared in decades. The problem is that we now have a great deal of content without much in the way of classification. You can trawl through alot of stuff before you find what you are looking for. It will be interesting to see how search engine technology develops to facilitate the union of seeker and site. But there are dangers, too, in the way that anonymity can bring out the vicious side of people. I'm not sure that regulation is the way forward, but it is a community problem that will need to be tackled eventually.

JRG: How important is blogging in our society? Why?
I think it stands to be extremely important because it democratizes the media. Currently, information is in the hands of a small minority who are funded either by the government or big business. This means that there is always an agenda behind what we get to know. Blogging alters all of that; there is no money motive, which is quite amazing when you consider how contemporary society works. So for instance, the internet is already starting to revitalize the craft of poetry, long abandoned by publishing, but flourishing now in the virtual world. That's just a small example. I can only hope that in time, it challenges our out moded perspectives on what we want to read, how we gain access to information, and how we make large-scale community decisions.

About the blogger:
John Ray Gutierrez is a beat blogger for Book flip. He is the winner of The Fundatia Alviqute Award of Romania for Best Screenplay, Don’t Drink The Water, nominated for BACE (Bay Area Cable Excellence Award) The GenX Show for Best Entertainment Series and a finalist for Best Screenplay The Lucid Dream Of Eric Butterworth at the Beverly Hills International Film festival 2009. He is currently directing a Trailer for Nick Cave’s new book The Death of Bunny Munro. And just finished his second screenplay Flan.


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