Blog Offers Excerpts from Current and Backlisted Nonfiction Titles
March 30, 2014
Something about my Google searching and Facebook posting recently generated a suggestion that I check out DelanceyPlace.com, a blog dedicated to publishing nearly daily excerpts from current and backlisted nonfiction titles, most notably those dedicated to historical subjects.
Curious me, I checked it out and immediately discovered that it spoke to my inner history nerd. (But let me make it clear, I'm still a little creeped out by how well social media algorithms predicted that I would like it.)
Anyway, each day DelanceyPlace.com sends me an email with a brief description and excerpts from a book. There's really no theme to what you'll find waiting in your inbox. One day it's a couple pages from Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin by Catherine Merridale exploring the Viking roots in modern Russia's ancestry. A few days later, it's an excerpt from Divine Fury: A History of Genius by Darrin M. McMahon contrasting the modern and ancient views on human invention. The serendipity of it makes for interesting reading over a cup of coffee and occasional trips to the library shelves to get the whole story.
DelanceyPlace.com is a not-for-profit venture dedicated to sharing insightful, persuasive, and intriguing passages from interesting books, according to its founder, Richard Vague. Profits from any books sales generated on the site are donated to children's literacy organizations.
Much like other bloggers, Vague doesn't claim to be an expert but does confess to having a passion for reading nonfiction and sharing it with the world.
"I read a lot," Vague writes in a letter to the blog's subscribers, "probably two or three nonfiction books a week. And for as long as I have been reading, I have never failed to come across certain passages (we call them "selections") that were so striking that I wanted to share them. I am thrilled when I stumble across a passage that explains something I have been puzzling over, or persuasively contradicts something I previously believed, or reveals something unexpected. With the advent of the Internet, it didn't take much for me to want to share those passages virtually."
I haven't found a way to predict what books DelanceyPlace.com will share from one day to the next. No matter. Several times each week, I open my email and I get a little insight on something new - Gilman High School in Maryland one day and the 18th Century fur trade in the American Northwest. Not a bad way to spend a coffee break.