PostedNovember 19, 2004
There is no shortage of blogs that plunder the ripe goings-on of the literary world. However, one lit blog that has separated itself from the pack is writer Ron Hogan’s Beatrice.com. The site combines sharp wit with journalistic discipline to cast an unflinching eye at the often soap-operatic literary publishing industry.
Launched in 1994 as a spin-off from a failed print magazine, Beatrice.com originally featured author interviews that Hogan conducted with his favorite writers. The New York-based Hogan, formerly the nonfiction and history book review editor for Amazon.com, recast the site in 2003, switching the focus from interviews (which he still conducts) to a blog-entry format, allowing him to track, and comment on, books of note, literary feuds, events, and other news from the peripheries of the book world.
His editorialized entries prick at crusty critics and pry apart tired arguments bemoaning the state of contemporary literature. His tracking of the salvos fired from several New York Times book critics at the 2004 National Book Award nominees in fiction was both instructive and biting. In an effort to widen the discussion, Hogan interviewed each of the nominees to get their take on the situation, thus giving the chance for the writers to add a little perspective.
The site also offers a list of links to other writers’ blogs, as well as websites Hogan is keen on. In a great aid to the first-time visitor, Hogan has archived his blog entries into several categories: "Author Profiles & Interviews," "Beatrice Reading List," "Book Reviews Observed," "Guest Authors," and "Publishing News."