Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Book blogging

First I did not know if I was the only one. So I refrained from mentioning it publicly. Now that I know I AM , DEFINITELY , NOT , THE , ONLY , ONE who was approached (boy, ain't I full of it?), I decided to share this with you all. (Note to myself: DO NOT talk about this blog to that hot gal in the adjoining office for the next few months!!)

Last week, one of the marketing managers from Scribner & Touchstone (part of the Simon & Schuster publishing house) left a comment on this post. In case you do not wanna read the comment, the gist is this. She offered me "review copies" of these two books and asked me to get in touch with her if I was interested. I replied to the comment with a short email and she just asked for my address to send these books, which I did immediately. Couple of days later, there it was, sitting in the lobby, a package with my name on it. Opening the package, I found this letter addressed to "Readers and Bloggers" and contained among others, this line -

Blogs and online magazines have become such a wonderful vehicle for the sharing of ideas and the spreading of culture, and we hold your opinions in very high regard.

It is a fact (and fittingly, a nice bit of trivia too) that the revered English journo E.W. Swanton was denied a chance to cover the 1932 Ashes series because his rival reporters got ahead of him in the line for the only telephone to report that Messrs. Holmes and Sutcliffe had scored 555 runs between them and had broken the world record for an opening stand at Leyton. His story reached late. While chastizing him for this, his newspaper decided that he was probably not the man for it and sent their tennis writer to cover what has since then been known as the Bodyline tour. And it has been said, in hindsight that if Swanton had been in Australia, his reports would have been forceful enough to convince the MCC (or the British government) to act tough with Jardine.

But I think that if Michael Vaughan was to do a Jardine today, Swanton would not be missed (no offense to the likes of Roebuck, Haigh and rest). The likes of Rick Eyre, Jagadish & Ganesh, Scott Wickstein and Will Luke (maybe even me) would do just fine. Wth MSM being what it has become, we bloggers are the new-age freelance journos and the writers. So, in this age of MediaNet and paid news coverage, it is no surprise that a publishing house such as Simon and Schuster (itself a part of the ViaCom media conglomerate, just like MTV, CBS, UPN etc.) has taken bloggers into confidence to pass on the impartial word.

Coming back to the books, I had read about Vikas Swarup's Q&A in The Hindu almost six months ago and being a quizzer myself, I was intrigued by the plot line. I have also had some personal experiences, that enabled me to relate to the subject in a convoluted manner (as you would probably see later). And Untouchables by Narendra Jadhav is coming as an incentive which I gladly accepted. And as Patrix mentions, none of us who has received these books are under any obligation to actually review the two books. Our brief is to just pass the message along, which I'm gladly doing. My thoughts about the books will follow, provided circumstances allow. But that's probably only after I finish my second reading of HP-6!

(P.S. Click on the book covers to see more info about the books!)

22 comments:

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Great!! Long live blogger... and I guess it must be feeling great for you as well to get those books for free and that too without obligations! :)

Mujhe koi kyun nahi bhejta ?? :(

Ramanand said...

Interesting to read that you'd been approached.
Something I had conjectured about in this post
{http://quatrainman.blogspot.com/archives/2005_01_01_quatrainman_archive.html#110645536007965485
}
[extract]
Will a day come when the top bloggers are sought by product-makers to quietly promote/endorse among blogging circles? Right now, I give more weight to the opinion of a friendly blogger than any reviewer or ad gimmick.
[/extract]

hathirpithi said...

arre anti,
echoing Sudipta--mujhe free ka maal kab milega. Bura bhi chalega par free hona chahiye :-(
maybe i can whack it frm u, u think?

Filtered Sambhar said...

yei anti o.c mall?!!

GratisGab said...

sooo cool Anti! have fun reading and reviewing!

D said...

i am as jealous as gollum!

VC said...

oru levelluku vandhuttennu sollu! keep at it!

anantha said...

vc: In some ways, yes. In some others, am still fighting to come up to that level. Life's a learning experience :)

Dhammo / Hathirpithi: You guys can afford to buy books and I get my books like this :D

Gabby: Thanx....

Filtered Saambhar: OC mall? Yup, thats one way of looking at it :)

Ramanand: Yup, I remember reading that line clearly from your post. Dheerga Dharshi hain aap! Am seeing that you are having fun in Mumbai... :)

Sudipta: Yup, it does feel good, though I'd like to hear Kirsten how she chose us....

Sudhir said...

Gud stuff, Anti...

Do check out mine..when you have the time.

Viddy well

Balaji said...

cool anti... coincidentally, i recently started reading Q&A on the recommendation of one of the commenters for one of my posts... very downbeat start but touching in some portions nevertheless...

alpha said...

nonsense i say! be a good boy and send me those books once you are done..spread the love da!

anantha said...

Alpha: I thought u were doing some reading of your own ;) But next time I am in Chicago, you will get them :)

Balaji: Will discuss once I read it. But I have a feeling that I might like it. OTOH, I might be expecting too much and getting disappointed as well. About 50 pages more to go with HP6!

Indira said...

I don't think the publishers aprroach every blogger. You made the list, I think it is special. Keep up the good work, great blog you have here.

anantha said...

Indira: Thanx! Btw you have a wonderful blog as well.....First time today and surely not the last visit.. Your recipes are mouthwatering!

Kaps said...

how do they zero-in on the bloggers? is there some trend that u can spot?

Tyler Durden said...

been here a few times (mindless clicking on links works at times - you suddenly see a blog close to home - cricket, TFM, Failed musicians), was sorely tempted to comment on the cricket blog, but this thing of being selected to review a book definitely needs an applause irrespective of the fact that we dont know each other :-). Kudos dude.

ps: forget ramesh, something needs to be done about dinesh karthick and the reportedly-injured-all-the-time balaji before they are labelled "not one-day material", whatever that means.

anantha said...

Durden: Nah, I don't think I am the chosen one. I don't even think we are "expected" to review it (as much as I thought we were, when I got the comment and later the books themselves). We bloggers are just doing the word of mouth advertising.
Abt Karthick, I already think he is "not one day material". I mean as long as Dhoni can bat the way he does at 6 with Gangs and Sehwag opening, but then who knows how long Gangs is gonna be around. As for Balaji, it is a mystery!

Kaps: I don't know at all! I seriously don't know. Of the blogs I frequent, it has been Patrix (i am a lurker on his blog) and Indira. I guess it could be cos we are here in the US currently, though that is not exactly a small set either. So, effectively I can't explain it!

Ramanand said...

i wish i could see dhiirgamaa into my approaching exams. Fun? What sadism! :-)

Girl said...

The Vikas Swarup book seems very interesting. Will get it from Eloor library once I am through with my current log of books.

And reading HP 6 was largely an uneven experience. The ending was great. Some of the parts were pretty boring, though. Let me know what you think once you finish the book.

anantha said...

Beat/Shwe: If you meant HP6, I wont even try to analyze it, cos it is not meant to be. Its for the pre-teen and the teens, at the max. You and me are actually outside the target sector. So lets just read it ;) As for Q&A, I have started it. Part of Swarup's writing reminds me of Rushdie's and partly of Shobha De's ((i know its sacrilege!). Initial take, this is. Lets see, how it ends.

Ramanand: Would give an arm and more to be doing what you are :)

J said...

oh wow! i'm jealous!

anantha said...

J: Nah, it is nothing to be jealous of :)