For the next week or so I’ll be offering passages from some of the books I’ve read and enjoyed this year. Most of the books were published this year. Most of the books are by people I’ve had some contact with, whether e-mail or in person, but there are also authors who wouldn’t know me if they tripped over me in a doorway. In short, they’re here because I enjoyed their books and I think you will, too.
YOUR HATE MAIL WILL BE GRADED: A DECADE OF WHATEVER, 1998-2008 by John Scalzi, Subterranean Press.
On occasion people ask me what, exactly, it is I have against Christianity, inasmuch as I seem to rail against it quite a bit. My general response is: I have nothing against Christianity. I wish more Christians practiced it. The famous bumper sticker says “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven,” but I often wonder just how often they check in with Christ about that last one. I look at the picture I included with the last entry, the one with the kid protesting the gay marriages in San Francisco, wearing the shirt that has “homo” written on it with a circle and slash through the word, and I try to find some of Christ’s teachings in that. As you might imagine, I’m finding very little.
If that kid were hit by a bus and got to meet Christ shortly thereafter, I do imagine the conversation would be a sorrowful one, as the homo-negating young man would have to try to reconcile his shirt with the admonition to love others as one loves one’s self. I would imagine at the end of that conversation, the young man would be looking to see if Christ were holding a lever, and if there were a trap door under the young man’s feet.
On occasion people ask me why I blog, inasmuch as it is writing for free and I am a professional writer with bills to pay. My general response is: I have exactly 20 reasons for blogging. Reasons 1 through 18 are that I enjoy it, but the other two are professional: I want to give people a way to reach me, and I want people who might otherwise never read my book to get a taste of my writing and — please! — be inspired to buy it and — please! — whatever other books I publish, assuming we have some semblance of a publishing industry in the coming year.
John Scalzi blogs for pretty much the same reasons, as I understand from reading his posts, and it works. His blog Whatever is one of my daily Internet stops, and because of it I’ve read and enjoyed his novel Old Man’s War, his no-nonsense book on the writing life (You Aren’t Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop) and now Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, a collection of posts from the decade-old blog. He’s a very entertaining writer and Internet raconteur, which is enough to interest any reader, but he’s also a role model for making the Web into an adjunct of the literary life, which should interest any writer as well.