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Grumpy Old Bookman: Essays and Criticism [Paperback]

Michael Allen

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Product Description


This is a collection of hard-hitting essays and book reviews which first appeared on Michael Allen's blog, the Grumpy Old Bookman. The Grumpy Old Bookman began operation in late March 2004, and soon acquired a reputation for plain speaking and controversy. This book reproduces some 130 entries from the first six months. The book is aimed at both readers and writers, and the content deals almost entirely with books and publishing. A typical entry will either be a lengthy review of a book, or the author's thoughts on some aspect of the book trade, inspired by an item of recent news.

From the Publisher

In February 2005 the Grumpy Old Bookman blog was listed by the Guardian as one of the top ten literary blogs world-wide. The Guardian described the blog as 'intelligent and unfailingly interesting.'

About the Author

Michael Allen can draw on over forty years of experience as a writer and publisher. He is the author of two previous non-fiction books, one of which is 'The Truth about Writing', an essential handbook for writers of all kinds. Michael has also published a collection of short stories and eleven novels (some written under pen-names); the novels have variously been published in hardback and paperback editions in the UK, USA, France and Denmark. Michael was formerly the Director of an academic publishing company, Bath University Press.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

This book is a collection of pieces which first appeared on my blog, which goes by the title of Grumpy Old Bookman.

What is a blog? A blog is, strictly speaking, a weblog. It’s a kind of diary or journal which appears on the internet, and can therefore be read, in theory, by everybody in the known (or unknown) universe.

Blogs are a relatively new phenomenon. They first appeared barely five years ago, and now there are (according to which estimate you believe) several million of them.

Blogs come in all shapes and sizes, from accounts of ‘what I did on holiday’ to serious political or religious rants.

The early blogs consisted mainly of links to other internet sites. The original bloggers spent a lot of time ‘surfing the net’, as it was called in those quaint days, and whenever they found something interesting they would mention it in their blog and so draw it to the attention of their friends and anyone else who dropped in.

Before long, however, some bloggers began to produce longer pieces of content: something which equated, perhaps, to a newspaper column, or what might once have been called an essay.

My own blog falls very much into the latter category. In other words, I am a thinker (of sorts) rather than a linker.

The Grumpy Old Bookman (GOB) began operations in late March 2004, and this book reproduces the entries from the first six months or so.

The GOB is labelled as being aimed at both readers and writers, and the content, naturally enough, deals almost entirely with books and publishing. Typically, the material which is posted on any given day will either be a description cum discussion of a book that I have just read, or a comment on some item of news about the world of books and publishing.

All told, this book contains some 129 individual ‘posts’ as they are called in the blog world. In assembling the material I have included almost everything which originally appeared on the blog, and have resisted, by and large, the temptation to revise and ‘improve’ the text.

In the blog itself I do tend to include one or two hyperlinks per post, and these are obviously missing in a printed book; but, if you wish, you can find the original links by going online and visiting the archive for the month during which the post first appeared.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the online version of the GOB can be read without charge. (And so can the book version if you’ve borrowed it from a library.) What this means is that I am part of the gift economy. I offer free stuff which I hope will be of value: news, insights, tips, recommendations for good books, warnings about bad ones, and so forth. In return, I hope to receive (and I do) the benefit of the blogs which are offered by all those other eccentrics, misfits, and cheerful young women (as well as grumpy old men) who operate in the blogosphere.

Long may they all flourish.

Michael Allen

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