Category Archives: Site News

Always Looking Forward (and a Happy Birthday to Matt Mullenweg)

First up, a big Happy Birthday to Matt Mullenweg! Matt is the creative spark behind WordPress and the open-source movement it remains a founding pillar of. He won’t remember, but Matt and I met once when he came to a WordCamp here in Birmingham, and we’ve traded a comment online a couple of times over the years. His work is impressive, and he has an incredibly reassuring worldview that will help you enjoy the internet (and the people sharing) a little more. If you run across an interview with him, it will be worth a read or listen. Cheers to you, Matt!

For his birthday, Matt asked, “Publish a post. About anything! It can be long or short, a photo or a video, a quote, or a link to something interesting. Don’t sweat it. Just blog.” Matt’s birthday wish highlights something I’ve been thinking about… blogging. I started this blog many years ago because I wanted to talk about books and publishing, and I live in Alabama (not exactly the center of the publishing universe).

Twice during the last holiday season, I was asked something along the lines of “You blog? Why on earth would you blog?” In this day of near-single-button-push online publishing, I can see where they were coming from. But while the difference between blogging and social media may seem like just a sliver, it’s much wider.

I have zero data here, but it’s been my experience that most folks on social platforms just stay busy saying, “Look at me” and “Let’s just make noise.” Meanwhile, the bloggers I keep up with are more about sharing their interests and are focused on their passions. We tend our blogrolls like gardens. They feel like real endorsements and not just raw numbers to show off follower counts (that sounds snarkier than I mean it). It’s nice “owning” your own space outside of most algorithms, though Google changes can feel heavy at times. Though maybe I’m just old?

I have no idea why all of the above feels so true to me. I’m sure Matt Mullenweg knows and has already given a couple of talks on it.

There are a few new newsletter options that seem to be in the spirit of WordPress and blogging, but there are still issues with the service providers, discoverability, etc. So far, blogging still best straddles the fence of ‘easy to do’ yet having just the slightest amount of friction to keep most of the super bad guys out of the space. Of course, maybe all this only pertains to book bloggers. I dunno.

No matter… you should blog. Whatever you’re passionate about. And if that happens to be books, then leave a comment. I know we’d get along. So, Happy New Year! Here’s to looking ahead and another fun year of blogging. As Mullenweg says, “Don’t sweat it. Just blog.” Have fun!

Happy New Year!

As I plan my pile to read this month, I want to take a moment and shout out HAPPY NEW YEAR to folks still swinging by here and reading. I hope you all found lots of time for books and celebration, over the past few weeks.

The ‘Matrix’ cover design is by Grace Han

Looking into January, I am most excited to read Lauren Groff’s Matrix (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random house) as well as re-reading Toni Morrison for my book club.

And so I am wishing a happy 2022 to each of you and I hope the year ahead is full of good reading and good times. Be well!

Calligrams and WordCamp

I learned a new word last week: calligram.

A calligram is a poem, phrase, or word in which the typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged in a way that creates a visual image.

I learned this word from the design-lead for this year’s WordCamp Birmingham Josh Gilmer when he was explaining this year’s  event shirt.

WordCamp Shirt

Isn’t that cool? If you’re from Birmingham, AL you’ll get the reference to Vulcan, if not, you can still appreciate the wordy design aspect of the shirt. The shirt is one of the perks you get from attending this year’s WordCamp Birmingham on October 29th.

This site,, runs on WordPress and it’s great. WordCamp this year is only $20 and includes access to all of the WordPress-centered sessions, meals, snacks, after party drink tickets, t-shirt, etc. and it’s always a lot of fun. So many cool helpful people there willing to help you and/or learn from you.

So if you’re in driving distance of Birmingham and want to know more about WordPress, you should check it out. It’s only $20 and only one day. And it’s always worth it.

If you’re not near Birmingham, AL, you should check the official WordCamp site for events near you. Even the local meet-ups can be fun and informative. I have attended many WordCamps around the Southeast and have yet to regret it.

WordCamp Attending


10 Year Blogging Anniversary

I just wanted to take a quick moment and mark this milestone – is 10-years-old. Back in July, I crossed the 520 week threshold.

10_year_anniversaryMy very first post was about a book found in a Irish bog (which is still kind of cool). Not much has changed, on this blog, over the years. I’ve been through 4 templates and have grown up with WordPress (which is definitely still kind of cool). And I have talked a lot about books, publishing and Birmingham.

Another thing that has not changed in the 10 years are the neat people I’ve met through my little book blog. Bookish people are by far some of the coolest folks one could meet. Passions and opinions run deep. And while the conversations have moved out of the comments sections and onto Twitter, etc. I still get excited when I get the chance to “talk books” with any of you.

So a special ‘thank you’ to each of you for taking some time to visit every once and a while.