I’ve been reviewing books for newspapers and magazines for a while now—something like 13 or 14 years, when I stop to think of it, which is about as long as I’ve been writing professionally at all. In that time, the newspaper business has changed a lot. It’s a change I’ve been hearing was coming since I was the editor of my high school newspaper in the ’90s, all Max Fischer-serious with my personal projects and extracurriculars, busy burnishing aspirations of going into the business. Everyone knew that the Internet (and “desktop publishing,” as it was called back then) were about to change the media landscape in some major way, but we didn’t know exactly what form it would take. It’s a change I’ve watched unfold with an almost magical swiftness in the 15 years since then, and I’m amazed and excited by what it means for people who wish to make their own media. To become the media, as Jello Biafra famously phrased it. I still write for newspapers—and some folks still read ’em—but there are limitations to the media that a blog doesn’t have.
I’m looking forward to stretching my legs a little here. I plan to use this as a place to share my thoughts on everything I’m reading—not just the books I’ve been assigned to review—and to do so in a more casual, colloquial, and occasionally profane way than I’m able to do in print and on someone else’s dime. So here you have it—notes on books from the little house in Philadelphia where I live, my contribution to the Books Blogosphere. In the coming weeks I look forward to talking about an interview I’m working on with a comics artist I admire, the novel I just checked out of the library, and Philly’s Bloomsday celebration, which I look forward to every year and never miss. Hope to see you around, and please feel free to say hello and share your comments.