Friday, September 21, 2007


Blogging has been quite an experience for me. I basically started out of a nostalgia for a time when my closest friends were actually quite far away but I talked to them on my computer more or less all the time. The magic that was Section 17 for me (in the early days anyway) has never been really duplicated. I have since met many wonderful people online and made other friends, spouses and everything in between online. But I've never again had that wide circle of far away friends whose daily messages make them seem a part of my life when they are not there. And when I realized that the final two people of that great group friendship that I could keep up with, were mainly (sorry, couldn't resist) keep-up-with-able because they now blogged about their daily lives and it was so cool to hear from and talk to them regularly that I decided to just jump in.

I have always been a book person. I've been a voracious reader since the moment I learned How, I've worked 3 1/2 years in the retail book business sucessfully selling books I've read and recommended to customers. I now work in a job where I am constantly exposed to thousands and thousands of books every working day. So I gave my blog a book theme. Thinking that I would just talk about books when the mood struck and mainly give the kinds of personal updates I once would have posted in issues. And so I mostly did.

And then it happened. I started noticing that there were actually people reading my book reviews who weren't just the handful of personal friends I'd been missing but people who just came in to read the review. (Oddly the review I posted of Dishwasher has been read a lot. It appears that because my blog is called The Thin Red Line people searching for GE Thin Dishwasher get my book review on their first page. And a very surprising number of them click through and read it.

So I started tying to actively promote my blog. I joined two syndication services. In return for displaying headlines (blog post titles) from other bloggers on my blog, my headlines are in turn displayed on other blogs with similar topic areas. I also began the long, tedious process of registering my blog with all of the blog directories (you'd be surprised how many there are).

I recently got an extremely helpful review from James Bashkin on Blog Catalog, who basically told me that my book reviews were quite good but that the personal was so Very personal as to be a off-putting.

After some thought I have decided to migrate my personal day to day shit postings exclusively to my Purely Personal blog, to migrate Joel's fabulous pictures to my Joel's Pix blog and focus The Thin Red Line on regularly posting about three interesting books, aiming to provide readers with an introduction to books they many not be familiar with, rather than anything approaching the detailed critique of a full review. My goal at this point is simply to gain readership. I love to write and I want people to read it.

Henceforth please check in here at for what's up with me. The Thin Red Line will soon be more tightly focused on presenting books.


Jim's Words Music and Science said...

Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate the invitation to your personal site, which gives me a chance to know you better.

Your energy in helping book-lovers everywhere is also much appreciated. It is true philanthropy to give the community something that can't be recovered, which is the time you take reading and writing and assembling everything. But believe me that I would not have bothered you with my suggestion if I didn't think your reviews deserved a very broad audience. That is a reflection of your skill and talent as a reader and writer.

The humanity that was evident in your "former blog" is what allowed me to feel safe about being honest with you over my own feelings.

I wish you good health and I look forward to reading your suggestions about good books for a very long time.

Sincerely, Jim

Bev Sykes said...

Thanks for adding me to this private list. I'd hate to miss out on your "life" in the book reviews.

JoyZeeBoy said...

Hi, Hon! As Jim and Bev have already noted, thanks for including me "in" on your private blog.

I'm glad you write about books. I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't read nearly enough -- not even for pleasure. I always love it when I do, but, like a lot of things, I tend to "forget" just how enjoyable it can be.

Anyway, as I've told you before it's great to be able to reconnect with you and to see you follow the same path that Bev blazed for us both.

Your friend,
Ron (the elder)

JoyZeeBoy said...

p.s. "keep-up-withable" works for me. I love tortured locutions. I'm guilty of millions of them.

Alan said...


I fell so blessed to have you in my life. Not just because you were such a huge comfort to me during and after Joel's death but also because you have been so generous in sharing your own life through your blog. It has been a real inspiration to me.


I can't thank you enough for the help and kindness you've shown me these last few days. I will continue to read Nearly Nothing But Novels and look forward to corresponding with you again.


I'm really, really happy that you are in my life again these days and I am so proud of all that you have accomplished. *smooch*

PS-- I got an e-mail from Mike Kelley today. Looks like he will at least be lurking here and on TRL

Cheryl said...

Thanks for inviting me to join your personal blog, Alan. I love books too, though I have trouble finding enough time to read and write about them.

Alan said...

Cheryl! How nice to see your name again. Hope that you and your family are doing well and that you've had mostly good breaks since we last talked on familywechose