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Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web (Vintage Original) [Paperback]

Sarah Boxer

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Book Description

12 Feb 2008 Vintage Original
“What are you working on?”
“An anthology of blogs.”
“I didn’t know you had a blog.”
“I don’t. It’s an anthology of other people’s blogs.”
“How do you find good blogs?”
“I read. I surf. I look at blog contests. I follow links. I ask people about the blogs they like.”
“Is a good blog hard to find?”
“Yes. Very.”

A Book of Blogs? WTF!!

Sarah Boxer, a former New York Times reporter and critic, travels through the blogosphere (more than 80 million blogs — and counting) and finds some masterpieces along the way. Among the bloggers in the anthology are:

two fashion critics mocking the inexplicable “fugliness” of celebrities
a Marine Corps lieutenant stationed in Fallujah in 2006
a 19-year old student in Singapore cheerfully pining for her ex
an illustrator’s tiny saga of a rodent and his ball of crap
Odysseus’s sidekick telling his side of the Iliad and Odyssey



Revealing and deceptive, grand and niggling, worldly and parochial, these blogs comprise a snapshot of life on the wild, wild Web.

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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Blogs: a video review 19 Feb 2008
By Kevin Hodgson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good info for those new to blogging 12 April 2008
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Reviewed by Sharron Stockhausen

While this book may appeal to those who don't have time to sift through cyberspace looking for intelligent or even cohesive commentary in blogs, it doesn't quite deliver on its promise to point out the ultimate in blogs. As a writer for the New York Times, Boxer gives a valiant effort in taming the Wild West mentality the permeates many blog writers, but such effort is better suited to the lifespan of a periodical than the lifespan of a book. My point is underscored by the fact that one of her ultimate blogs, "El Guapo in DC," posted its last entry on August 7, 2007, a full six months before this book's publish date.

Another problem with this book is it doesn't seem to know who its audience is. Boxer may have had a tough time figuring this out by virtue of blogging being so new that it still doesn't know who it appeals to. Boxer offers something for the uninitiated with her general statements, but she risks turning off blogging fans, many of whom already have their own ideas about which blogs qualify as ultimate.

Since this book comes in the print medium, hyperlinks don't work, nor do time-sensitive entries. That precludes Boxer from including blogs on politics and those that rely on links to video or other content. There are pages and pages of graphics, most of which are not very satisfying to see reproduced in black and white on photocopy paper weight stock. Given the unappealing cover design, it follows that the interior should be unappealing as well.

That leaves the writing to serve as the stand-out feature for this book, but Boxer cannot be blamed for the writing, as she is the editor, not the author. Few bloggers are known for their writing style. It's their ability to be publicly snarky, even reckless, while keeping their identity private, that provides them the opportunity to be either brilliant or sophomoric.

If you're looking for a one-stop place to get familiar with blogs, this book serves that purpose, but it doesn't offer much for those who've already discovered blogs.

Armchair Interviews agrees.
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