Good Reading : February 2011
18 goodreading ı FEBRUARY 2011 In her first blog entry at 52suburbs.com, Louise Hawson set herself a challenge: to explore and photograph one new Sydney suburb each week over one year. 'I've lived in Sydney for more than 30 years but I've never set foot in most of its 637 suburbs.Yowie Bay? Blair Athol? Canoelands?' Armed with a camera and a street directory, Hawson captured the visual fabric of each place she visited, the public face and the backstreets, the unique architecture and the crumbling facades, the veiled women and the tattooed men, the rich and poor, the old and young. Before she completed the project in October 2010, Hawson and her blog had gar nered a loyal following and a book deal, aiming for publication later this year. For book publishers, the blog (an online diary, shortened from weblog) takes a lot of guesswork out of the publishing process, acting as a testing ground for unknown authors and providing a way to connect to an easily accessible audience. For readers, blogs offer a peek into other people's lives, their jobs and hobbies, their secret desires and sometimes public tribulations. If you're interested in a topic -- no matter how obscure -- someone is probably writing about it: raising children or chickens, living in a foreign country or with a debilitating disease, making money or Star Wars-themed origami. But of the hundred million blogs created in the last decade, very few have achieved blogosphere success, as measured by generating a large readership, an income or a book contract. One of the biggest blog-to-book success stories is Julie & Julia (now also a 2009 movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams). Like Hawson, Julie Powell set herself a year-long challenge, this time to cook (and blog about) all of the recipes from the classic Julia Child cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. More than just a cooking diary, Julie & Julia expands on the original blog, combining the often intense culinary challenges with a salty, bitter and sweet memoir and imagined scenes from Child's life. It quickly becomes clear that Powell is no Martha Stewart: she's stuck in a soul-sucking day job, throws tantrums when the mayonnaise curdles and would rather pair her boeuf bourguignon with Buffy the Vampire Slayer than a fine beaujolais. Frank Warren's PostSecret: Extraordinary confessions from ordinary lives is filled with other people's secrets. In November 2004, War ren printed 3000 invitations to share a secret on plain white postcards that he gave to people in subway stations, art galleries and between the pages of library books. 'Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything -- as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.'Warren hoped the anonymous art project would help to heal and categorical 1 Getting published has never been easy for most new writers. But the advent of the blog – a personal website on which an individual records their ideas and opinions – has made it much easier for budding authors to practise their craft, and for publishers to get a deeper insight into prospective talent before committing themselves. ELIZABETH PATON takes a look at range of bloggers – from photographers, home cooks and stressed mothers to paramedics, soldiers and prostitutes – who successfully made the leap from blog to book.
December January 2011