Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Blooking Baghdad and Bad Girl Blogs

Thanks =] for picking up this story first.

You know I wrote the other day about blooks - books based on blogs, and how they are now becoming not just respectable, but in some cases, best sellers?

Well, now a blook has been listed for a major literary prize in Britain.

Baghdad Burning, by an anonymous author who blogs under the pen name Riverbend:
I'm female, Iraqi and 24. I survived the war. That's all you need to know. It's all that matters these days anyway.
She has been longlisted for the £30,000 Samuel Johnson award fon non-fiction. You can read her blog here. (Add to her average of 6,000 hits a day, why not?)

I think it's quite incredible to be able to have a glimpse into how it felt to be an ordinary Iraqi living through the war and its aftermath, and will be looking out for this book. (Sorry, blook.)

On the subject of blogs, the Independent had an interesting piece the other day on sex-blogs as the new chick-lit. Racy online journals are now being snapped up by publishers in the wake of the success of Belle de Jour.


Just don't follow any of the links from that article or you won't get any work done today!


Has anyone offered Sarong Party Girl aka MissIzzy a publishing contract yet? Would anyone in this part of the world dare?


Lydia Teh said...

I also want to write a blook. Tell me, what's a good topic, other than you-know-what.

Walker said...

Do you think the newspapers are behind the times? Sex-blogs are *so* last year. ;-) You'd only say that if you noticed them last year of course, but what strikes me about many (and I speak of a few touted as "the best") is that they're dreadfully written.

Belle de Jour works because it's not only genuine, but the author can actually write. (I'd describe some of her finer moments as *noirish*.) Sex blog today means "look at us, we're young, sexy and twenty-something, and we've just discovered what we can do with our genitals so we'd like to unload them in your faces." Harsh, perhaps, but terribly embarrassing. Moreso when they pull in so many readers because of that.

irene said...

I dream of having my blog turned into a blook. But the saner side of me asks why anybody would want to buy a blook when they could read my blog for free!

bibliobibuli said...

Lydia - i think your blog is really nice and you don't seem short of topics there.

i guess that you should have a passion for whatever you write about and it helps if you hit on an unusual angle. riverbend of course was lucky (or unlucky) enough to be in a warzone and expressing a completely different view of events from those we read about in the newspapers. two of the blogs i mentioned the other say were about food - one a personal journey through a cookbook, the other about greasy spoon cafes.

why not just poke about at the lulu website to see what other people are blooking about?

walker - seems a fair assessment! and i'd agree with you that belle de jour is streets ahead of the rest in terms of writing.

irene - i was happy to find your blog, especially the quotes about bookshops that made me laugh.

i know that i would buy the book of a blog i enjoyed even if i could read it online. (i am looking out for baghdad burning and julie and julia in the bookshops here.) i prefer to read from print. i like to "own" books, like their physical presence. i guess enough people must feel the same because the most successful blooks are selling well.

=] said...

Wow, thanks for posting on this. I must admit that I do have some doubts about the identity of Riverbend. No one really knows if she's really an Iraqi living in Baghdad. Then again, I haven't read everything in the blog. Perhaps whatever she blogs about does prove her authenticity to a certain extent.

Anonymous said...

That's right isn't it ? you like to _own_ books. You like to buy them and keep them :) You have books you haven't read. :) I like to _read_ books. I don't have a book I've bought that's not read at least once.

It's partly retail therapy isn't it ? :) you buy books cos you have to buy stuff, and then you justify it by saying well it's a book, not something frivolous like shoes or handbags. I read books. I have always read books, and I'll always be reading them whereever I can get them. There are books in the toilet, books in the room, books in the hall, books in the kitchen... and then there are books in the KL Memorial Children's library. That's the absolute best place to read. Air-conditioned, no one there except kids (who don't recognize you so it's all good) and you get to remove your shoes and lie down for a bit. That's worth more than anything to me, to drop the pretense of adulthood and be a kid again for a while.

bibliobibuli said...

=] - her publishers know here identity so i guess we have to trust them, plus as you say, it would be very hard to fake a blog like this

and anyway there have been a fair number of bogus memoirs recently so whatever we read we should be suspending disbelief

bibliobibuli said...

anon - you can't make me feel greedy about my stacks and stacks of books. if you want to borrow any just ask. on my deathbed i will bequeath them all to a library and someone else can love them then

irene said...

I like to own books too! It's one of my greatest weaknesses! *rueful smile*

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's retail therapy, is what it is :) as for the publishers, they've have the wool pulled over their eyes so often they can make sweaters.

Anonymous said...

I just read this post again and this just occurred to me.. there's a line in the movie "Orange County" where the son says he wants to be a writer, and then the dad goes "A writer ?! whaddaya wanna be a writer for ? you're not oppressed, you're not gay.."

The Great Swifty said...

I wouldn't mind offering to Miss Izzy, unfortunately, I don't own a publication. An appearance in a short film, however, is possible.

Anonymous said...

But why ? it's devoid of anything much. It's not really news in THIS country, just in S'pore.

Anonymous said...

MSM Aljazeera interviewed RIVERBEND: