Kevin Holtsberry has been blogging since 2001. Under various titles and domains he has written about politics, sports, theology, culture, and anything else that strikes his fancy. His site, Collected Miscellany, currently focuses on books and culture.
He has also dabbled in freelance journalism, having covered the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections in the crucial swing state of Ohio for National Review Online. He has also written book reviews and sports commentary for NRO.
Kevin has a Masters degree in History from Bowling Green State University and currently works in state government. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and 18-month-old daughter and the familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s two cats and two dogs.
Simon Owens: Your blog has focuses less and less on politics since the last time I interviewed you. Why is this?
Kevin Holtsberry: I just burned out a bit on politics and blogging the topic du jure. There is also a sense that I just don’t have that much to say on that front. With millions of blogs already out there, there are few subjects that aren’t discussed to death. I don’t see the point of throwing my two cents out there when it is unlikely to change the debate and most likely will get lost in the black hole that is the Internet. I do on occasion pontificate on political or cultural subjects, but mostly I focus on books and sports these days.
Simon Owens: Every time a really controversial book comes out, like one from, say, Ann Coulter, pundits quickly realize that they give away tons of free publicity to her by even bringing the book up. But it would seem that the new book The Enemy At Home has reached an all-time low. At what point will publishers like Doubleday and Regan Books (the recent Judith Regan/OJ Simpson scandal being the main focus of this) stop trading in their credibility for book sales?
Kevin Holtsberry: I suppose publishers are looking to make some money. I am not sure how much credibility they have to start with. As for The Enemy at Home, I don’t think it should be compared to Ann Coulter or OJ Simpson. I think it is a thoughtful book that makes a serious argument (I haven’t finished reading it, but Dinesh D’Souza is not a hack). Based on what I know so far I think it is wrong in important respects, but I don’t think it is out of bounds in some way. If it helps foster an honest debate about the role of Islam then it is probably for the good.
I am not a fan of Ann Coulter or her style because I think it distracts from the legitimate issues she sometimes raises and makes it easier for people to dismiss conservative arguments. I think talk radio and much of the blogosphere shares this over-the-top type rhetoric. It man be good for ratings, books sales, and traffic but it turns me off. Again, I don’t think Dinesh is in that camp.
Simon Owens: Obviously, book bloggers can’t read and review all the books that get sent to them. Do you ever have book-give-aways, like some book bloggers?
Kevin Holtsberry: I certainly have more books than I could possibly read! I have had book giveaways in the past. And I often try to get friends and readers to review books that I can’t get to. But it isn’t easy. Reading a book and writing a review takes commitment and time. Few people are willing to make that commitment on a regular basis. It also takes time to post a book giveaway and then mail out the books, etc. I have just been lazy about it.
Simon Owens: If you had to break down the books you read into a pie graph, what genre of books would receive the largest chunk? What books would you be interested in the least?
Kevin Holtsberry: I have very eclectic tastes, and read very widly, so it is hard to see one genre as clearly the biggest chunk. I read more fiction than non and I tend to read fiction with either an element of mystery (espionage, police procedural, historical, etc.) or the supernatural (magical realism, fantasy, etc.) or sometimes both.
Simon Owens: How does having a young daughter affect the amount of time you’re able to blog and do other hobbies?
Kevin Holtsberry: It has a big impact on blogging because it reduces both your free time and often your concentration. There are only so many hours in the day. After work I spend most of my time with the family until my daughter goes to bed. Throw in reading books and there isn’t much time left for blogging. If the choice is between spending time with my wife and daughter and blogging, guess what loses? It is also hard to concentrate on writing when you have a two-year-old running around.
That is another reason my blog is focused on book reviews, interviews, etc. It doesn’t depend on quick reactions to current events or rely on lots of web surfing or research.