Stale Bread Lunch

Literate and nerdy. By Michael James Boyle.

Welcome to Stale Bread Lunch

Mar 10, 2014

Like so much of the world, in the summer of 2006, I started a blog, and, like so much of the world, I let it die after two years of slow posting. But I don’t regard it as a failure. The blog itself may never have become the platform for self-expression I imagined it might, but I did learn a great deal from the experience. Not only did I lay the foundation for most of what I know about the workings of the web, but I came to appreciate why it failed as a platform for me.

Maintaining a constant stream of interesting posts, even when you define interesting within the narrow context of friends and family is a real challenge and takes real talent. Yet without that steady stream there is little point to a blog. The chronological stream of brief posts is tailored to the assumption of a regular drip of new content that is relevant when fresh and fades from interest over time. Social networks solve this problem, to some extent, but the space never really belongs to you, and over time the contributions fade away, rather than collecting into a body of work.

As hinted by the name, Stale Bread Lunch is not that sort of website. My goal here is that each article should be able to stand on its own, not simply be a part of a stream. That means I’m not particularly interested in being timely or responding to events as they happen. Instead, I hope to produce fewer, but higher quality articles.

At launch I’m focusing on one of my primary interests, novels, though I intend to broaden out into other subjects with time. I have prepared three articles (beyond this introductory note) on three novels, each dealing with themes of perception, memory, and reality: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, and The City & The City by China Miéville.

These aren’t reviews, per se, at least not in terms of an evaluation of quality. I struggled some finding a label and landed on the term “book club.” That is the atmosphere I’d like to foster, more a discussion of themes in the book I found interesting than a recommendation about what to buy. On that note, a word about spoilers: While I don’t go out of my way to spoil anything, these articles aren’t directed at people trying to decide whether to read the books discussed, but at people interested in discussion about them. My own attitude on spoilers is one of caution. I certainly don’t like it when anyone intentionally or maliciously tries to spoil something for me because they don’t understand why someone might want to be surprised. That said, avoiding spoilers neuters any real discussion. So in my own reading, I play it by ear, asking only that I’m not ambushed by spoilers so I can make my own decisions. That’s the policy I intend to follow here. I’ll keep the front pages clear, but once you get to the article itself, all bets are off. You have been warned.

Along with full length articles, I have the “Breadcrumbs” section. That is where I intend to put anything that doesn’t rise to the level of an article. Breadcrumbs aren’t so fully-formed, are more time-sensitive, or are the kind of thing I simply wouldn’t say if I had to put the level of thought or preparation that goes into an article. In other words, it is the blog portion of the site.

Any other questions are, I hope, answered here in the FAQ.

Welcome to Stale Bread Lunch.

—Michael James Boyle

March, 2014