14 October 2020

Bloggernomicon - Knowledge Lost

It's October and Melbourne is still in lockdown, however I'm pleased to welcome Michael Kitto to the blog in the continuation of my Bloggernomicon series of interviews. Michael's blog is called Knowledge Lost.

Welcome to Carpe Librum Michael. When did you start reviewing books and can you tell me the story behind your blog name? 
Michael Kitto - Knowledge Lost
Michael Kitto - Knowledge Lost
I was never a reader when I was younger, it was in 2009 when everything changed. It was all thanks to a Triple J radio show called The Culture Club with Craig Schuftan, which got me interested in learning more about art, literature, and philosophy. I had to learn more, so I started reading his book Hey! Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone!, which lead me to read Frankenstein and that was when I became addicted to reading and needed a place to post my thoughts.

The title Knowledge Lost was adapted from the epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton. I decided on this title to symbolise the fact that there is so much to learn and so much knowledge out there that previously was lost to me.

What’s your most popular blog post? What can you tell me about it?
Surprisingly, the post that has the most hits on my blog is an art post called Nec Spe, Nec Metu (Without Hope, Without Fear), which I posted in 2010. Which is about Caravaggio and his motto in life. I am not sure why that gets so much attention but maybe people are just looking up Caravaggio or Nec Spe, Nec Metu trying to learn more about him and his life philosophy. 

Are there any reviewing clich├ęs you’d like to see less of?
I am a cranky old man but review however you want to review. We all have our own opinions, I just hate when a book review is just a synopsis, I don’t want to read about the plot, I want to read what people got out of the book. Tell me what resonated with you about a book, and the themes that keep running through your brain. I am a fan of literary theories, so if you talk about psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, post-colonialism, and so on, you have my attention. I once did a post on Twilight where I briefly explained the book using different theories.

Do you have any advice for reviewers interested in starting a book blog?
Just start, I think book blogging is great and I love the visual representation of how much I have changed as a reviewer and a reader. My older posts are not great, but I think it is a great way to see the growth you have made over time. Also, when you get older, you might forget what you thought of books you read in the past, so it is useful to have a reminder.

Have you ever been pressured to give a positive review or had an author question a review of yours?
I will not go into what happened, but I was once told by an author that I read their book wrong because I didn’t like it. This novel used real life people as characters and I never agreed with the way they were portrayed. But it is a good reminder that we are reviewing books to record our own feelings about a book, we are not here to please an author.

When asked by an author, publicist or publisher to review a book, name something that can tip the balance in their favour?
That is easy. When I first started my reading journey, I was a literary explorer, trying all different genres and styles. I have found that I love books from around the world, so if you tell me a book has been translated, I am instantly more interested in reading it. Who knows, my taste might change in the future but for now I want to read books from around the world.

Do you use any of the reading statistics spreadsheets out there? Do you make any specific reading goals around trackable criteria?
I have a reading spreadsheet, which I started in 2009 and I love keeping track of my journey. I can tell you that in my reading journey so far, I have read 1225 books. I track all sorts of stats, like I know that 65% of my reading has been by male authors (even if 75% have been by women this year) and that 35% have been books in translations (75% this year). For a while I didn’t care about those statistics, but it is so easy to see imbalance.

If you could improve one thing on your blog, what would it be?
I would improve myself, but that is the beauty of the blog. I can see just how much I have evolved as both reader and writer. I hope to continue to grow and that my blog continues to reflect that journey.

Name something you’d like to achieve in the world of reviewing and blogging about books
I would love to be known as a literary critic, I love reading and want to continue to grow in my skills of criticism, and I hope that pays off. I am passionate about literature and my literary taste is different to many others, I want to continue promoting the joys of reading books from all around the world.

Do you have any blogging goals for 2020?
My main goal was to get back into the habit of writing regularly. I think I lost my passion and I regret not having reviews on so many books that I have read in the past. Recently I posted about the importance of book reviews, for me, having a recorded review of books I have read in the past really helps refresh my memory of my thoughts. 

Thanks so much for participating in Bloggernomicon Michael. I love the sound of your reading spreadsheet and thanks for being such a champion for translated fiction.


Would you like to comment?

  1. Thank you for having me on, I am addicted to my spreadsheet and translated literature, so I suspect I will talk about it some more in the future

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    1. You're welcome Michael and I'd love to hear more. I'm subscribed to your YouTube channel so that'll help :-)

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  2. I’ve always enjoyed your blog Michael! Good luck with your continuing goals.

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Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!