NAQ's: A Dialogue

Hey, Kirby.
So, uh….what’s up?
I’m starting a blog.
I can see that.
Well, “blog” may not be the right word.
Why’s that?
Blogs tend to be regular, relatively brief updates. There’s nothing brief about most of the posts here. I’m talking about 12-, 15-page essays. And I don’t know how much of a schedule I’ll be able to keep. They kind of take awhile to write.
So, sporadic pieces that demand a lot of investment by the reader and that are delivered in a medium that rewards the shortest possible attention span.
That’s right.
Sounds promising.
Doesn’t it?
Twelve to 15 pages really is a lot.
It is. I know. I’m thinking about calling it an “online manuscript” rather than a “blog.” I think that captures the spirit a little more accurately.
“Online manuscript” works.
I think so. Definitely not a check-throughout-the-day kind of thing. More like settle in with a cup of coffee or an end-of-day drink.
What are these posts going to be about?
The unread books on my shelf.
That sounds, um, what?
I’m going to read the unread books from my shelf and then write about them.
All of the unread books from your shelf?
Probably not all, but we’ll see.
Why in the world would you want to do that?
Well, I thought I should own them at one point, right? And every book carries with it a story beyond the subject of the book itself. Where did I get it? Why? Why have I held on to it for so long? A lot of the books are used, which adds a whole ‘nother dimension. How can I interpret whatever markings the previous reader left behind? I think it’s an especially worthy endeavor now that e-books are taking over and someday we may no longer be shamed into such a project by the actual books leering at us from the shelf.
You’re saying that an e-book isn’t actual?
I’m not going to get into this with you.
It’s just that, I mean, you are aware of the ironies here, right?
Well, for starters, you’re advocating for people to read the books that they already own rather than buying new books, this at a time when bookstores are going out of business. Even the mighty Border’s recently went under.
First of all, I’m not advocating for anything. I’m just reading the books from my shelf. You can read whatever you want. Secondly, I think anything that actually encourages people to read the kinds of books that fold in their hands will be helpful for the bookstores.
You’re fighting a losing battle on that front, mate.
Doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t fight it.
Then there is also the matter of this appearing online.
Go on.
Well, Mr. Print, don’t you think it’s a little hypocritical to laude paper and then publish electronically?
This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life. Just because I prefer books doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the Internet.
OK, OK…. You don’t need to be all mean about it.
Then don’t be stupid.
I said, Alright. Before we finish, why don’t you tell me about “Beach Reads.”
Oh, right. “Beach Reads” are the one kind of blog-y part of the whole thing. After every two substantial essays, I will invite the readers to vote on a number of books that may not deserve even 500 words, let alone 10 pages. I will then speed read the winning book and write a short reaction. Basically I’m buying some extra time between the bigger books and forcing myself to read the books that I really would never read otherwise.
Want to give us a sample of the types of books we can expect?
Come on.
OK, then. Anything else you want to say?
Just enjoy it. I’ve had a great deal of fun with the project so far. Hope you do too.
Kirby, it’s been a pleasure.