Featured Blogger: Scott Esposito of The Quarterly Conversation and Conversational Reading
Blogger Scott Esposito publishes quarterly essays and book reviews for his online magazine, The Quarterly Conversation, in addition to posting reviews and interviews of authors and publishers on his literary blog, Conversational Reading. Esposito’s 25th issue for Fall 2011 is now available on The Quarterly Conversation, so make sure to check it out in addition to keeping up with his news on Facebook and Twitter!
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
A: I started my personal blog, Conversational Reading, in 2004 and The Quarterly Conversation in 2005. In both cases the reason was the same: I didn’t see a whole lot of places to do the kind of writing about literature that I wanted to do–in-depth writing about great books, but not in an academic sense at all. I started these sites to share my writing, meet other like-minded people, and encourage people to read great literature. I think it’s worked out on all 3 counts.
A: I think The Quarterly Conversation stands out for the kinds of books we tend to cover–we do a lot of translations because that’s where a lot of the most interesting literature is happening these days. We also go very in-depth, with our reviews averaging around 1500 words and our essays 3,000 to 4,000. Everything on TQC is closely read and edited, and I think it shows in the quality of the material we present. We’re definitely not one of those sites that will throw whatever up online in hopes of generating pageviews through quantity. We believe we’ll get plenty of traffic—and better traffic—through quality.
A: I don’t really know. I think they think it’s cute, but they probably don’t really think about it beyond that. They probably have some idea that my sites are cool to certain people, but the things that my sites cover aren’t really my family’s thing.
A: I read a lot of political ones, probably too much. Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein, Eschaton, Talking Points Memo, Brad DeLong, Calculated Risk. As to literary sites, I tend to check in on the Literary Saloon, Three Percent, This Space, and scads more fairly regularly.
A: That really depends. It can be very little if I just want to post a few links, but if I’m trying to write something a little more thought-out, I’ll spend quite a while.
A: For Conversational Reading, I had a pretty major redesign when I left the abomination that is Typepad and switched to WordPress. I think I may have redesigned it once previous to that. For The Quarterly Conversation we’ve gone through one major redesign.
A: That kind of depends. I’ve met lots of people through my sites that are now professional contacts and friends, and I correspond with those people fairly regularly for various things. As to the more “fan mail” type of correspondence, maybe a couple times per month.
A: For joys, I’d have to say meeting all the great people I’ve met, discovering tons of new authors, corresponding with some brilliant and passionate readers, and having the chance to work out my thoughts on various subjects on a regular basis. I just wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am as a reader and a critic if I hadn’t blogged. For pains I’d have to say the grind of feeding the beast and my awful experience with GoDaddy as a host.
A: I am a complete political junkie. People who follow me on Twitter have probably figured that out, but I’m very strict about keeping my political thoughts out of my blog, so you wouldn’t really know if that was all you read.
A: That’s really hard. I probably couldn’t pick a favorite, but one of the top ones has to be this post I did about a blurb Nicole Krauss gave to a book called To the End of the Land by David Grossman. I know that blurbs are basically bullshit, but this one was so over the top and so poorly written that it was just hilarious, so I shared it with my readers and it caught on big-time. Obviously a lot of people found it as bizarrely funny as I did.
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