Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Finds

I’m doing it. I’m going for it. This marks the first, brave steps I take toward… memes. But first, what is a meme anyway?

“A meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream"[1]), is a postulated unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, and is transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena.”

Interesting. This is traceable from slang patterns to fashion trends to regional dialects. But how does this apply to blogging?

“The term "Internet meme" refers to a catchphrase or concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the internet, largely through email, blogs, social networking sites, and instant messaging.”

Well, okay, that’s a little more useful. Basically, an Internet meme is something people continue to do long after it ceases to be funny.

But I’m still not sure how this applies to blogging. Maybe The Daily Meme can help me:
“In the context of web logs / 'blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it's some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on. I generally consider these to be actual questions and not some multiple choice quizzes that determine some result at the end (what color you are most like, what cartoon character are you, what 80s movie are you).

By some other definitions memes are viral and propagate around sometimes mutating as they propagate. Someone proposed something along the lines of some blog posts are viral, they write about something they see on one blog and the next person does the same sometimes their interpretation varies slightly changing the story (I cannot find this original reference).

Eventually some people decided they were going to creating weekly questionnaires (memes) and post them every week. Some are monthly, a few are daily and some are always there. Some suggest that you get five other people to do the same meme and they have to get five people (and so on), which sometimes increases their propagation. This probably stunts their mutated growth, having a permanent storage place where people go to find them but many people copy them from the site where they see it and they'll still change a bit.”

That’s more like it. So, a lot of book blogs that I enjoy reading participate in a few of the more engaging memes out there. The Boston Bibliophile recently decided to cut back on a few, but some bloggers do at least a meme a day. While I think that can get a little boring – I prefer reading their reviews to most of their meme answers – following a meme (or two) is a nice way to keep up the blog entries. When a really busy, frenzied week strikes, and I simply can’t drum up the time or energy to write a wholly original entry, I can still jot up a few quick meme-related entries. It keeps me in the practice of writing these entries, and a little reinforced writing exercise is never a bad thing… unless it’s unforgivably dull, and if it gets to that point, I will stop.

Another good point of participating in memes is that it connects you to a smaller network of bloggers in your preferred topic. To gain a readership, one must be an avid blog reader and communicator. It almost never works without participating in the very network you seek readers.

So, anyway, forgive the preamble, and follow me into the fun-filled world of… Friday Finds!

Since I’m still in the process of unpacking my new residence, there weren’t a whole lot of finds for me this week. What I did come across:

The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday by Neil MacFarquhar – I checked this one out from my store after reading all the praise it received in the Times. I’m about seventy pages in, and I’m pretty hooked, but it’s also an easy book to pick up and put down.

Making Music by Ann Wiseman – While at the Carnegie Library on Sunday, I came across this book, a 2003 reprint of a great children’s music book from the 1970s. The illustrations are worth the money alone, red and white hand drawn and very, very 70s. But I’m running a music camp at the store the last week of July, so I thought I needed a few decent books on making music and building instruments with children.

Spook by Mary Roach – The only one of her three books that I haven’t read. It appeared on the bargain table a few weeks ago, and I remembered to grab a copy before they all sold out.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby – Upcoming release from one of my favorite author’s. Not technically one of my snags, because my roommate grabbed it before I saw it. Since it lives in my household, I count it as among my finds. Super excited for this one.

Galleys and ARCs have dried up a bit for now. I expect Fall release stuff to be coming in closer to August. I received two from Bloomsbury last week (or possibly the week before), but I haven’t seen a whole lot come in the past month or so.

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