I am reading John Grisham’s The Broker courtesy of Blessing, who is a fan of his. I had admitted that I am not, and she asked me what of his I had read.

“Skipping Christmas, ” I answered quickly, but then I frowned. “Did he write Bonfire of the Vanities?”

The answer to that question is “No.” Blessing started rattling off Grisham’s titles, and I pulled his screen up on the computer, and it turns out that I haven’t read anything else of his. I just had that sort of feeling that I had read him before. That feeling is not uncommon with famous writers, though more often I think it is associated with Thomas Hardy. You just sort of feel as though you must have read something of theirs.

So Blessing brought me a couple of Grisham novels, and I am enjoying them. He is not, like Ben Elton and David Nicholls, a new favorite of mine. I think the reason I am not excited about Grisham is that he is neither witty nor serious. He doesn’t trade in big ideas, you cannot luxuriate in the loveliness of the prose, the characters are not so deeply drawn that you begin to care about them as people — it’s just a straightforward, workmanlike story.

Nothing wrong with that. It has made him piles of money and many people love it.

Do you ever look at your footprints? I mean, your xanga footprints. There is a screen which shows the people who came to visit you, and where they are from if they are not xangans.

The non-xangan part is like a site meter. It is sort of fun to see that someone from the Ukraine visited you, or to think “Gee, I am surprisingly popular in California.” You can see what people were searching for that brought them to your website — at mine, most recently, someone wanted to know the name of the theme song of “Monk” — I am afraid they found no assistance here, but it was Google that deceived them, not I.

There is a good 13 seconds of amusement value there.

The xangan part actually tells you who visited. Like calling cards. Ah, Formerprincess stopped by. Wonder what she’s up to? Or, hmmm, I don’t know this person. New in town, is he? I’ll go visit him.

But I can also see that the fellow my daughter is going out with has dropped by. Hmmm…. does he know of that connection? Have I told any embarrassing stories about her lately, and if so, will he know that she is the one being discussed? And someone from my own county came by — is this someone I know in real life, and if so, have I written anything indiscreet lately?

And that means that other xangans know when you visit them. So does that mean I can skip comments and still assume that they know I was there, enjoying their posts? I’m not really much of a commenter — I almost never comment, in fact. But sometimes I feel as though I ought to. I mean, I wouldn’t go to your house and poke around and see what you’ve been doing without leaving a note or something. Since I left a footprint, does that count?

Oh, I don’t really go to your house and poke around. I don’t go to anyone’s house and poke around. But I go to your blog and check it out, see what you’re doing, admire your knitting.

And what’s bloglines, anyway?