Monday, October 16, 2006


(I've got a lot of work to do today, so I thought I'd post this handy reference guide I'd written up and meant to post for a while. That way it'll be there on the sidebar under "Previous Posts" if you ever need to refer to it. I'll post something more substantial later this week.)

I know I'm always prodding you readers to comment on the issues I discuss on The Written Nerd. However, it has occurred to me that since many of you are book people, not blog people, you may not know how easy it is to comment (or "post a comment") on a blog. Forgive me if this is all old news to you, but I thought I'd write up a brief tutorial to make commenting less of a mystery. These instructions look long, but I'd say they take about 30 seconds, plus however long it takes you to articulate your thoughts in writing.

How to Comment On This Blog

1. Click on the "[#] COMMENTS" link at the bottom of the post on which you wish to comment. A new window will pop up (disable your pop-up blocker if you need to.)

2. In this new window, type in your comment in the box under "Leave your comment."

3a. If you have a Blogger user name, click on the bubble next to "Blogger." Type in your user name and password in the blanks that appear.

3b. If you want to post your comment anonymously, click on the bubble next to "Anonymous." You will not be asked for any identification info.

3c. If you want to comment using your name (or any name), click on the bubble next to "Other". Type the name you wish to use in the blank marked "Name." The "Web page" blank is optional, but you can use it to include the address of any website you want people to link to when they click on your name in the comments.

4. Type the squiggly letters you see into the "Word Verification" blank. (This exists to prevent the comment equivalent of spam email.)

5. Click "Preview" to see what your comment will look like. You can edit the writing in the "Leave your comment" box to modify your comment.

6. Click the blue "Publish Your Comment" button.

Congratulations! You've commented on The Written Nerd!

Link-Mad Monday: Rats, Cranes, Ghosts

Hooray, actual links on an actual Monday!

* Last week was Slate's Fall Fiction week, which of course I'm slow in noticing. My favorite article in their "Book Blitz" is this one on Overlooked Fiction, with comments from bloggers (including Bookdwarf) and booksellers (including my former coworker Carol at Three Lives, a voracious reader and supporter of the underdog if ever there was one; hi Carol!) Lots of other interesting stuff in the Slate lineup, too; I'll have to read through some of it before I can link and recommend.

* And the winner is: FIRMIN! The Litblog Co-Op's Read This! Selection has been announced, and Sam Savage's literate rat takes the field. Click over for nominator Ed Champion's brief but thoughtful take on why he picked this book, including this great summation:

Firmin challenges our narrative assumptions by presenting us with a tale told by a rat, signifying perhaps both nothing and everything, about the relationship between reality and fiction. It can be read as a literal entertainment or a multilayered parable about gentrification and the palliatives and pitfalls of imagination.

* Speaking of Ed Champion, today the man is hosting what you've all been waiting for: the Richard Powers Echo Maker Round Table. Today is the first of five installments, containing the rambling thoughts of nine readers (including yours truly) riffing off of each others' musings on the novel, followed by a response from Mr. Powers himself on Friday. This will serve in lieu of a review of this Book #39 for me, as I found myself writing and thinking more deeply about this book in this format than about any I've read recently. (Yes, I'm still a fan!) I'm totally hooked on the roundtable as a kind of virtual book club, one where you have room to really develop your opinions. And of course I'm totally star struck that Richard Powers now knows my name (if only virtually, in order to comment on my crackpot opinions). Hope you enjoy the exchange!

* Last night I wore my CBGB T-shirt to a screening of INDIES UNDER FIRE at Steve Colca's place in Harlem (which I'll write more about later), totally unaware that last night was the last hurrah for this legendary rock fortress. I gotta admit I never actually went to a show at CBGB proper (I did go to the CB's Gallery next door, which had more folky and indie stuff), but it seemed important that it existed as an emblem of all things down and dirty and New York and punk rock. Now its legend will only grow, unimpeded by a concrete existence. Firmin would understand. Here's what Patti Smith said:

"Kids, they'll find some other club," Ms. Smith insisted during her set. "You just got a place, just some crappy place, that nobody wants, and you got one guy who believes in you, and you just do your thing. And anybody can do that, anywhere in the world, any time."


* And if you feel like continuing to bask in the sweet misery of nostalgia for places that are no more (a sentiment always easy to conjure up in this changeable city), the Times also has a piece on Bookstores That Live Only In The Mind: all the great NYC bookshops that have closed in the last 10 or 15 years. I think it's pretty amazing how long some of these guys lasted, from the 'teens to the '90s in some cases. Me with my militant optimism, I'd love to see a piece someday on stores that have opened and are succeeding. But it's also important to pay attention to what's come and gone. These were bookstores where dusty old print media could live and breathe, and we respect them as they respected books and readers.

So go ahead and indulge in a little Monday moping; I'll be back on Wednesday with a review of the new documentary and hopefully some new books, to help us face forward again. Happy reading!