Books Magazine

1. What's the Best Part About Blogging? Any Special Stand...

By Bluestalking @Bluestalking
1.   What's the best part about blogging? Any special standout experiences? Largely that it caters nicely to my massive ego. I like the freedom to do whatever I like - so for example, if I fancy writing about something a bit off-topic, I can do so without anybody (well, except maybe readers) questioning my judgment. As a journalist, it's nice not to be surrounded by the more traditional editorial and advertising apparatus. The nicest part is when I feature somebody's work and they are delighted with the mention. That's the kind of immediate interactivity that more traditional media doesn't usually do so well. If I'm honest, making money out of it is also something of an attraction.


2.   How long have you been blogging and what prompted you to start?
I've been blogging about six years now. I began because interest in niche interests really started taking off online around then - or at least that's when I started noticing it which is maybe not quite the same - and when I interviewed a friend of mine Adrian Murdoch who had started the excellent Bread and Circuses blog ( for an article on the appeal of ancient Rome to modern folk it seemed a natural way to move forward.


3.   Any negatives about your blogging experience?
The occasional inaccurate carping comment is annoying but that's part of the game bloggers have to accept. I dislike it when I come across something interesting, post it, and then a bigger site picks it up and doesn't link back to me. Boing Boing and Treehugger are particularly good about linking back, but others seem to think their size means they don't have to bother with the small fry like me. I get my own back by giving their sites a hard stare.


4.   Do you ever worry your topic is too limiting or will book lovers never run out of wonderful ways to display their books?
When I started I did wonder how often and for how long I would be able to post, but it's five years later and there's still remarkable work coming out from ingenious designers around the world. At the moment I aim to update the blog daily and that's not a problem, although as I say, the nice thing is that if I feel like putting up something about reading in general or why books are marvellous, then I'm happy to do that too. 


5.   Any personal favorite bookshelves you've posted about? Any of them make it into your own home?
I like the ones which are built into chairs, a nice mix of sanctuary and laziness - I particularly like the Bibliochaise and the designers of that are also lovely people. Sadly, I don't own a single one of the shelves in the book or on the blog. We just have very 'normal' plank-like ones in the house. Maybe I should have asked for free samples? Damn.


6.   Where did you get the idea for both the book and the blog?
The blog grew out of my other blog Shedworking which is all about working from home in small garden offices. I write sometimes there about interior decor and I noticed that more and more shelf designs were emerging. Rather than chart them all there, I felt they deserved a home of their own. I never intended to turn it into a book, it was simply a personal piece of jollity, but when the Shedworking book started selling well, it seemed a natural progression to do the same with Bookshelf. Although the book is inspired by the blog, it's actually better in many ways, not least because the photos are so good but also because there's more information about the designs and designers. And you can read it in the bath. 


7.   In the grand scheme of things, do you foresee blogging special interests sticking around for a long time into the future?
Absolutely. If anything, it will become even more niche. There's already a couple of other bookshelf-themed blogs now and the possibilities are endless. I've wondered about doing one on bookends which seems slightly bananas, but...


8.   What is it about blogging many find so enriching, for bloggers and readers?
Enthusiasts like to meet other enthusiasts. Ideally, I'd prefer to meet like-minded people face-to-face (and preferably in the pub) but if somebody lives in Chicago, that's unlikely to happen, so doing it online is the next best thing for everybody concerned. I dislike how people misuse the word community, but good blogs really do bring people together.


9.   Any other blogging specialties you've been tempted to try, starting another blog, etc., or do you feel bookshelves will forever be your niche?
I'm a big believer in 'pubworking', homeworkers using pubs as third place offices during the day when they're usually underused. I've experimented with a blog on this but it didn't work out and I ditched it. I may start it up again though. I also blog about property/real estate for the national UK newspaper The Independent but that's more of an actual job.

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