Book Blogs vs “The Book Reviews”

Posted on May 15, 2007. Filed under: Books, Main Stream Media, News |

I read an article recently in the LA Times that quotes Michael Dirda, a pulitzer prize winning author. Says Dirda, “If you were an author, would you want your book reviewed in the Washington Post and the New York Review of Books, or on a web site written by someone who uses the moniker NovelGobbler or Biogafriend? The book review section … remains the forum where new titles are taken seriously as works of art and argument, and not merely as opportunities for shallow grandstanding and overblown ranting.”

Are you kidding me? These reviews are filled to the brim with “shallow grandstanding and overblown ranting.” I could not of said it better myself. Filled to the brim. The reviews are often are biased and petty.

And it’s always entertaining with the authors and critics have their little cat fights in the letters section, where the charges and counter-charges are so predictable that they need not be written at all. The ticked-off author says that critic didn’t read his book or misunderstood it; the critic denys the charge. It sounds very silly and childish.

The established reviews recycle the same reviewers over and over again. It is boring to read the same old names with the same old biases.

There is a huge need for more book blogs. Readers are starving for them.


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One Response to “Book Blogs vs “The Book Reviews””

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i read a lot, but i don’t like book reviews. that said, i’d rather read a book review on the net over the ones in the papers anytime. i feel the same way about the kind that appears in the papers.

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  • Quotes of the Day

    "Writing editorials is like wetting your pants in a blue serge suit. It feels good, but nobody really notices."

    --Jack Germond

    "Famous men and women, by the act of putting themselves on display, whether as politicians, actors, writers, painters, musicians, restaurateurs, or whatever, invite public appraisal. They are all, impressively or pathetically, acting on the presumption that their ideas, their fantasies, their music, their bodies are more original than those of, say, a plumber or a certified public accountant. They are all exercising the impulse, as Mencken put it, ‘to flap their wings in public.’ This is so obvious to the critic–and, I believe, to the ordinary reader or spectator–that it seems hardly worth saying. But resentment of the practice of criticism itself is strong among professional artists (and all Presidents of the United States). There is a psychological type among them that hates critics on principle as parasites or failed performers. This is very natural but surely very childish and, in any country claiming to be civilized, actually anti-social. The existence of critics, good, bad, or indifferent, is a firm clause in the social contract between the governors and the governed in any nation that is not a dictatorship. Public figures should accept with good grace the public response to their invitations to be admired and resist the temptation to retort, except in the face of flagrant malice."

    --Alistair Cooke

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