Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blog books

I just finished reading a book which I thought was a memoir. While waiting for the book to arrive, I looked up the author on the internet and found out she had a blog. I read a bit of it, which made me want to read the book. "If her book is as good as her blog," I thought, "This is going to be a treat."

It turns out, her book is her blog. Each entry, from the summer of 2005 until the winter of 2007, is reproduced in the pages of the book almost verbatim.

Each one is well-written. But the question sticks in my mind: can a good blog become a good book, without significant editing to tie the threads together and give them a larger context?

Blogs, after all, are not novels. Nor are they memoirs--a memoir presumably is written after the fact, once the author has some sense of where the story has led them. Blogs don't lead anywhere. They just are.

And yet, there seems to be a trend of well-known bloggers getting book deals lately. I wonder if this is all we can expect from them: a bevy of books with 1) An intriguing premise, but no plot to speak of, 2) Very little character development, and 3) A fair share of self-indulgence.

I hope not. Blogging allows ordinary folks to get their words out into the world; it takes the elitism out of public writing. My hope is that when given the opportunity to cross over into a wider readership, bloggers will take the time to find the bigger picture, to weave their words into a story that's more meaningful than a log of their day-to-day life.


  1. hmmmmm.... well I certainly know that my blog would not make a very interesting book. However, if the blog is written with the intention of it becoming a book then I think that it could work. Especially if the blogger has done the amount of preliminary work that would create continuity and a strong plot.

  2. I've read 1 books that came from blogs, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. "Diary of a London Call Girl" is based on the blog "Belle de Jour", which I have been reading for years. I enjoyed the book, even though it was also in a diary format. That one was interesting enough to spawn a new series on Showtime.

    The second is a book called "Happy Hour is for Amateurs, which I reviewed recently and found almost unreadable. I have to admit that I have been unable to find the blog this book is based on, and I think that's for the best. This one is not written in blog format, but that doesn't help salvage it.

    I think it can be done well, but my big fear is that blogbooks are going to be the new trend, rather like making movies out of old tv shows. While there are some really interesting blogs out there, I don't think most of them would make good books. They are just different creatures.