Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Notes Taken at One Year

Today marks the one year anniversary of The Notes Taken. We began with this short post setting out our ambitions (to review books), and since then we've written 231 posts, 60 of them being book reviews.

To me, these are decent numbers; but more importantly, I find that maintaining a blog has changed the way that I work with non-blog related reading and writing. There are other factors involved here, including the kind of clarification that is required when one starts thinking about the problems that were left unresolved with one's previous efforts, mine being the book Freedom and Nature in Schelling's Philosophy of Art, but blogging has transformed the way I engage with texts, and the way I write (not to mention that it has expanded the circle of those with whom I converse with about philosophy, through either blogs, email correspondence, or a few guest features). It has also increased the amount that I write. And that, I think, is a positive development because writing requires a lot of practice. Some of that work has appeared here, with varying degrees of success, and much more of it remains stuck in my notebooks.

For our more recent readers, I would just like to highlight a few of the successes, primarily those of the other contributors to The Notes Taken. If you would like to get a sense of where we stand, I'd recommend, first, the online reading group/self-clarification that Matthew McLennan and I undertook around David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

Then I would add Matt's review of Slavoj Zizek's Living in the End of Times, which captures the exasperation that I know he and I feel at every new book of Zizek's that begins with some promise and ends with the same jokes he used in The Ticklish Subject or Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? I'd also recommend Matt's long running series on Yukio Mishima.

And with these I would include Sean Moreland's thoughts on the legends of J.D. Salinger, occasioned by the author's death on January 27th (on the same day as Howard Zinn).

That rounds out our Ottawa-based contributors. But the blog would not be complete without Jason Smith, currently based in Korea, who has been engaging questions of imperialism, including this post on U.S.-South Korean relations, which drew the ire of a conservative blogger, and even a small bit of traffic therefrom. Nor would the list be complete without the weekend posts by Joshua, currently living in the Central Valley of California where several of us grew up. It took a while to convince him, but eventually I prodded Joshua into making his nearly all-consuming Youtube habit a blogging habit. For me it's like going to visit his place every weekend, when he's just got to show you that clip of William F. Buckley Jr. interviewing Huey P. Newton, or Georges Bataille discussing literature and evil.

I could keep adding links, but I think I've already added too many. I'll close by saying that I've had a good year writing for The Notes Taken, and I think next year will be even better.

1 comment:

David Tkach said...

Congratulations note takers!