Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Susan Wyndham, who has been most recently in charge of the Undercover column at The Sydney Morning Herald, has got a new blog.

Undercover struck me as a lot of fun. Every Saturday, I looked forward to reading it. It has news about writers, prizes, and scandals, and general gossip from the world of books here in Australia. Written from the point of view of an insider, Undercover is a must-read.

Wyndham's blog was launched on 17 November, so in announcing it here, now, I'm a tad late. Better late than never.

The blog, which is just one part of the newspaper's online 'Entertainment' Site, will furthermore be home to a book group. Considering the recent launch of the Australian Broadacasting Corporation's First Tuesday Book Club, this seems to be a bit of a trend. To host one online is to tap into the growing appetite among Web surfers for the sort of participatory experience that has made group blogs such as Sarsaparilla and its offshoot the Patrick White Readers' Group so successful. (In fact, Wyndham was quick to pick up on the launch of the latter, and covered it in her column.) The blog's book group post attracted 40 comments.

First up for discussion at Undercover (in its new incarnation) will be a book suggested to Wyndham by Nancy Pearl, who she dubs Seattle's "super librarian". The book is Little Big Man by Thomas Berger. Published in 1999, she says it can be found in "libraries and good bookshops". I wonder. It's presently too late for me to telephone Gleebooks, but I bet it'll be hard for most eager participants out there in the blogosphere to put their hands on. "I will start discussion in a week or so," she said in the 17th. Not really enough time to buy, borrow or steal the book as well as read it. And the week will have ended on Friday. Patrick White Readers' Group gave its participants a month to get sorted, if I remember correctly.


Susan Wyndham said...

Thanks for the friendly introduction, Dean. It's fun to join blog world (just before it gets too crowded out there?) and the response to my book club idea has been great.

Yes, you're right. Getting hold of Little Big Man has been more difficult than I expected. Some people have found old copies or bought it online from the US, where it has never been out of print. Random House Australia is trying to organise a special printing for us in the UK.

I will start the discussion soon but take it really slowly. I hope you can join in. The book is fabulous.

Dean said...

I'll try to get my hands on a copy, and join in.