Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Daily Bookmark

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: It's unusual for a blog to make the national news, but it happened recently when Gawker Media was forced into bankruptcy by a whopping $140 million judgement in an invasion-of-privacy case brought by Hulk Hogan. Now there's a lot of interesting background to this event, including a shadowy billionaire with a grudge who was funding lawsuits against Gawker's owner, but the upshot is that Univision bought Gawker Media's seven websites at auction earlier this week. Six of them remain, but the flagship site,, has closed.

Why this run down of media business? Because I am SO bummed that one of my daily stops on the internet is gone! I'd check in with Gawker every day,usually briefly in the afternoon and reading in depth in the evening. Now it's not there, I struggle with this information-age, existential blankness that has no name. It's like walking down the street to discover a smouldering hole where your favorite cafe was. Or learning that your local library has been turned into a parking lot. Sic transit gloria interrētis.

Fortunately, I still have several must-reads every day. We subscribe to three newspapers online, The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Portland Press Herald. I tend to read the first for opinion and arts, the second for politics, and the third for the gloriously wacky local news (much of it thanks to our governor, who is a choleric nut job.) Of the remaining Gawker Media sites, I love Jezebel, subtitled "Celebrity, Sex Fashion for Women." It has everything from gossip about the Kardashians and Real Housewives to investigative reporting about women in politics, campus sexual assault and income inequality. It has a strong "third wave" feminist slant that keeps me - who absorbed feminism in the seventies and early eighties - on my toes.

Also on my personal blog roll? John Scalzi's WHATEVER, which is, as its name suggests about whatever the award-winning SF author has in mind: science fiction, politics, publishing, cat pictures, ukeleles...the list goes on, and is all entertainingly well-written. On the more frivolous side, I adore home decor/home improvement blogs (you all may recall my home is 200 years old, which means at any given time, something about it needs improving.) Decor, like fashion, is very much a matter of taste, which in my case means no matter how beautiful the pictures or how well-written the prose, I'm not going to be bookmarking anything that features a boho, apartment in Brooklyn, Scandinavian modern or minimalist aesthetic. Instead, my recent faves are all about a bright Southern more-is-more look. I'm particularly enjoying 702 Park Project, about a young couple bringing back his grandparents' 1902 North Carolina foursquare house, and The Pink Clutch, written by a woman who looks a lot like me ten years ago, and prominently features bar carts and cocktail recipes among the decorating advice. My kind of gal!

How about you, Reds? What do you read while drinking your first cup of coffee, or while skimming your tablet before bedtime? What are your must-visit stops on the internet - and have you ever lost one, ala Gawker?

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Oh, I read Gawker, too! So sad... for blogs I tend to go with home design—am a fan of Decor8, Domino, and Design*Sponge. I also follow a bunch of the perfume blogs, including NowSmellThis, Bois de Jasmin, and Perfume Posse. I love it when people write about perfume—it becomes poetry in the right hands....

JULIA: Susan, I confess I have never gotten the allure, but I know several other authors who love to read and write about perfume, including MJ Rose and Denise Hamilton. On the other hand, I enjoy opera and classical music reviews, despite the popular saying that writing about music is like dancing about architecture.

HALLIE EPHRON: I never followed Gawker so I won't be missing it. I do subscribe the Boston Globe, The New York Times, and only recently since I am obsessed with this election, the Washington Post. AND the New Yorker (they send nearly daily posts which are usually excellent reads). Also the Huffington Post, even though there's  never much there that isn't covered better elsewhere. For laughs I read Tom and Lorenzo, fashion bloggers. And I follow my kids on Facebook (does that count?)

In fact, it's amazing that I have time to do anything besides read what's on the web. It's a terrible time sink.

JULIA: I read TLo too, Hallie!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yeesh, this makes me feel out of it. We subscribe to papers: the Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald and The New York Times, which I read out loud to Jonathan the way to work. I get a fabulous email news briefing every day from the Washington Post, with great links, which I am addicted to, and the New Yorker daily posts.  I read TV Spy, about the news business.   And the RTNDA (radio television news directors association) daily newsletter. I follow the NYT, Wash Post and LA Times and The New Yorker and New York Magazine on Twitter, and that is surprisingly worthwhile. Hey, is Vogue on Twitter? Off to look.

JULIA: Yes it is!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I didn't read Gawker! Now I think I've missed something great. Damn. I do read The New York Times online everyday (and paper Friday-Sunday), and now the Washington Post, because I kept hitting my limit on the political stories. I get the Dallas Morning News on paper everyday because their online format is from the dark ages. I read mostly for local news, and the editorial page. And I get all kinds of things on Flipboard everyday. I subscribe to several cooking blogs but don't usually find time to read them, and just looking at my list so far makes me wonder how I ever get anything else done. Oh, and I try to check out the UK news everyday.

I'd really love the home decor blogs.  Hmm, wonder how I can squeeze a little more in...

JULIA: How about you, dear readers? What would you recommend to us from your daily bookmarks?


  1. Well, I never read Gawker. However, I do read the New York Times and the local paper. Other than that, I usually check out a couple of recipe blogs, I glance at publisher pages to see the latest book news, and I visit Maine Crime Writers. But the first thing I read, and the only blog I never miss, is right here at Jungle Red Writers . . . .

  2. Wow. All that online reading, Reds. Don't your eyes get tired? We get the Boston Globe, the New Yorker, and the local paper...on paper. I spend SO much time reading on screen - that is, working and Facebooking - that I just want a break and something to curl up on the couch with. My first blog of the day is this one, of course, and my friend Sylvia's personal blog, which she used to write daily but doesn't any more. Other than those, the Wicked Cozy Authors, of course -grin- and Facebook, which is a combo blog, news site, and gossip column, isn't it?

  3. Yay Wicked Cozies! And also Mystery Lovers Kitchen! Forgot to mention that in my political junkiness I also follow Politico and Politifact and that one that gives you all the most recent polling data.

  4. Yes, Hank, you can follow Vogue on Twitter. I certainly do! Otherwise I would never know what Mrs. Clooney is wearing.
    I also follow In Style, The New Scientist, Wired, The Economist, several newspapers and news organizations, and The Paris Review, which often has great links to swell interviews with fabulous writers (I have the books too but it's nice to get that shot of inspiration from the Twitter feed every day).
    Um, yeah, so I'm kind of addicted to Twitter. But I limit myself to three times a day (mostly). Ditto for email. Otherwise I'd get nothing done lol

  5. Yes you guys, thanks for putting JRW on your must-read list:). I also read Mystery Lovers Kitchen and Wicked cozies and lots of others when the devil Facebook calls attention to tons of writing and promo posts.

    We get the paper New York Times every day and when in Key West, the Key West Citizen. We keep the papers on the kitchen table until dinner so we can read as we eat breakfast, lunch or snacks! (never dinner--that's time to chat)

    I get alerts from the Washington Post about breaking news, which is great for politics but not sports when the time zone is ahead of where we are!

    Never even set eyes on Gawker so won't miss it now...

  6. Off to get Vogue and in style! Isn't it funny how a few magazines we have on paper these days? We still get the New Yorker on paper, but that is all. Amazing.

  7. I would read an article from Gawker when a friend shared it on Facebook, but I didn't follow the blog. In fact, the only blogs I follow regularly are JRW, Wicked Cozies (I read, although I don't always comment), and the group blog I belong to, Mysteristas.

    Like Paula, I'm kind of addicted to Twitter. And it gets worse when the product cycle at work is like it is now - everything either ramping up or winding down, and very little for me to do.

    Very dangerous.

  8. Oh, nearly forgot. I usually hit the Henery Press blog, Club Hen House. Always fun.

  9. Since I never followed Gawker I won't miss it, but I figure out who all the latest celebrities are by following TLo. They irritate me sometimes, though, since they tend to overuse the same phrases over and over again, some of which make me cringe. Love seeing pretty clothes, though, which is the same reason I can't keep from picking up the latest issue of InStyle at the grocery store.

    My morning always starts with BBC News, then CBS News, CNN, JRW, and local obituaries, followed by the obits for the next county, where I grew up. I started doing that a couple years ago when my mother "forgot" to tell me one of my childhood friends had died, and I didn't learn about it until months later. Now I tell her when someone we know has passed.

    After the obits, I check out local news, NBC, CNBC, The Daily Beast, 538 (is this the one you follow, Hallie?), check out the stock markets and the weather, and then go to Facebook. Once in awhile I'll stop in at HuffPo, if there's a big controversy brewing, and I do follow a couple of blogs like Margaret & Helen, who I adore, and a couple of author blogs. I've cut back on most of them, though, because frankly they've gotten boring. Thank you, Reds, for avoiding that pitfall.

    Do I read all of these? No, I skim the headlines of the news sites, trying to winnow out the wheat from the overabundant chaff of gossip and "sponsored" links, which are nothing more than click bait.

  10. Karen - Yes, 538 is a must-read for me during an election year, although I usually only hit it once a week. Following the polls daily is like watching your stocks go up and down: better to just see it once in a while!

    Another good political aggregator is Real Clear Politics, which links to interesting news and opinion pieces across the blogosphere. Ross, who is a political junkie, follows that.

    It always amazes me to read that most Americans don't begin to pay attention to the presidential race until after Labor Day. Can that be true? Or are we all just news junkies?

  11. WHAT? No one is checking BOLO Books every day? What is up with that? LOL. I just kidding, really. ;)

    I will add one author blog to your must-reads however. If you are not reading Chuck Windig's terribleminds ( you are really doing yourself a disservice. His content varies, but is always so well-written. And when he espouses on publishing issues, he can't be beat. Bookmark away!

    Other than that, I check JRW every day, "Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room" a few times a week, and EarlyWord (a librarian centered blog) daily.

  12. Kristopher, I see your stuff on Facebook. I don't go directly to the site (which is kind of weird, I admit).

    I should check Terrible Minds more frequently than I do.

  13. Where do you guys get all this time to read blogs? I can only scan the news, scan Facebook in the mornings before I start work. Am I a slow reader? Just not interested enough in current affairs? But John does do some research and filtering for me. He reads the English newspapers every day and sends me snippets he thinks I should know about. And my daughter posts feminist stuff. But as for news... Frankly I'd rather not know.

  14. By the way, I don't bookmark blogs. I subscribe to them through The Old Reader, and then just check that once a day, if I'm in town.

    Forgot one of my longtime favorites: PostSecret Every week there are two long posts of PostSecret postcards: new ones, and favorites from the past. They are snapshots of people's lives, confessions, heartbreaking revelations, and cries for help. Any one could inspire a novel, all by itself. I never fail to both sob and laugh.

  15. Karen, PostSecret sounds fabulous. I'm going to check it out--although I don't know when I'd find time to read more...

  16. They're only posted on Sundays, Debs.

  17. Not having a lot of time for reading on the Net, I only go to JRW and Louise Penny's post (when available) daily.
    And I go to BOLO at least once a week. Any other blog is only occasionnal because I had to downsize. Kept the best.

  18. Thanks for including me among those stellar blogs, Danielle.

  19. Not having time to read a lot of blogs, I try to read jungle red writers every day!