Driftless Area Review January Update

I’ll try and keep this update short. I want to keep my loyal readers, followers, and newcomers appraised of blog activities with regular updates.

Right now my current activities are devoted on two projects:

  • Finish the bonus essays for my upcoming non-fiction book, American Odd. It will be published by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, the same publisher as my two previous two books. (Haven’t read them? Click here and here to get the inexpensive eBooks. If you would like to own a copy of the very, very limited edition handmade hardcovers, send me an email at: driftlessareareview @ hotmail . com)
  • Work to cut down on my review backlog for the New York Journal of Books. Due to outside circumstances – work, life, etc. – I’ve gotten woefully behind. (Current Count: Works Read: 23; Works Reviewed: 0)

In semi-related news, I have had some good news at my Day JobTM. I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say I will not be seeking to monetize The Driftless Area Review. It was once a long-term ambition, now it isn’t. Not every online interaction needs to be a monetized one. Not every click and scroll needs to be commodified. Money isn’t my concern any more. What does that mean? Glad you asked.

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No clickbait, no cup-rattling for donations, and no desperate attempts to steer eyeballs in my direction. Think of it like when Prince left Warner Brothers and started releasing whatever the hell he wanted. This blog has always been my passion project. My passion being my love for writing book reviews. I’ll post reviews about books that interest me; long-form essays exploring topics I find fascinating; and interviewing interesting individuals. There’s a wide gulf between “writing whatever I damn well want” and “writing for the market.” The latter doesn’t concern me. What’s hot? What’s new? What are the kids reading these days? If it actually interests me, I might write about it. Otherwise, I’m not going to waste my time. Life is short, books are many. In addition I’m usually reading multiple books at once. I do everything in my power to finish books by publication date, but that usually doesn’t happen. Because of the recent positive turn of events (and since my blog is a passion project first), this blog won’t be deadline-driven. Any emails by authors prodding me to finish a book and publish a review will be deleted without being read. (Protip: As an author and book reviewer, you don’t want to piss off reviewers. A five-star review can turn into a one-star pretty fast on places like Librarything.) Finally, don’t ask me to review your work on Amazon. It’s not going to happen. I post my reviews on my blog and on Librarything. That’s it. (Sorry to sound hostile, but emailing and harassing reviewers about reviews reeks of unprofessionalism. Amateurish behavior will be treated as such. On the other hand, I am a big champion of aspiring writers and small-scale indie presses.)

Other projects in the works:

  • Essays on Capital is over. I wanted to write an ongoing series on Karl Marx’s epic critique of industrial capitalism. I haven’t written any subsequent essay in years. I’m not writing any more essays for reasons. Some might say I’m being vague and evasive about it.
  • More exclusive content: Ugh, I hate the term “exclusive content.” This blog was never about the futile pursuit to “produce content.” “Producing content” seems like a nice of saying, “Filling up space.” I write for a couple other venues and post the links on my blog. I want to write more essays and reviews for my own blog. A widget factory produces content, I write essays.
  • Upcoming Special Features: In the past I spent a week praising a novel by Minnesota bizarro horror mastermind MP Johnson. I will revive the “______ Week” feature. The first will be a five-part exploration of Hulu’s TV series, Legion. The second will focus on The Combinations, by Louis Armand, an 888-page magnum opus published by Equus Press. “_____ Week” will combine long-form essays and/or riffs on a specific work and/or topic with interviews, Commonplace Book quotes, and potential Guest Blogging opportunities. (What I’m saying is, If you want to be interviewed, get your work reviewed, and/or guest blog, the door is open. Contact me at the above email address. Caveat: The Driftless Area Review has the right of refusal to inquiries. Shorter Caveat: I’m a book reviewer, not your publicist. My passions and interests are far-ranging and fairly open, but I won’t become a shill. Book promotion services are legion … impartial book reviewers, not so much.)
  • Old Business: I’m still working to finish the outline for my science fiction novel. Under normal circumstances, this would take a day or two. It’s the busiest time of year at work, combined with prioritizing the completion of American Odd, has made me put this rather simple and straightforward task on the back-burner.
  • Twitter retweets: If you see my Twitter account, I can get rather opinionated and I retweet a lot of partisan stuff. A book reviewer is entitled to their strong opinions. Don’t like my retweets? Not my problem.

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  • Final Thoughts: I am a book reviewer who believes a good book review or literary essay can start discussions. My reviews aren’t about settling arguments as much as starting them. I read books that are diametrically opposed to my beliefs and ideas to avoid tunnel vision, groupthink, and fishbowl mentalities.

p3_jackass

Turns out this update wasn’t very short at all. My goal is to post more reviews and essays on a regular basis. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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