And Bookblogs for All

Someone associated with a newspaper (Adele Geras at the Guardian website) finally says some reasonable stuff about bookblogs and newspaper book critics.

[In the blogosphere y]ou can write as much as you like and you are completely and utterly independent. Publishers and PR people can’t put any pressure on you. If you feel like it, you can ignore Don DeLillo and write instead about the latest SF or the latest chick-lit or the latest women’s erotica, or even about sword and sorcery for adults. You are free.

It’s like crazy talk: sword and sorcery for adults. Actually, to get crazier, this started me wondering what kind of s&s novel Don DeLillo would write.

But here she really nails the rather bogus credentials issue:

“But why should we believe the blogger?” comes the cry. “Who are they and how are they qualified to tell us what to read?” The answer is: you should believe them and trust them in exactly the same way you would a critic in a newspaper or literary journal. There will be some you admire and some you think are stupid. Some bloggers write well and some badly and so do some literary critics.

The most interesting thing about this reviewers-vs-bookbloggers flaplet (which has mostly sounded to me like the Titanic whining about icebergs as it bubbles out of sight) has been that some critics seem to view themselves as something other than people who write about stuff and whose assertions rest on the evidence and argument they bring in support of their positions. If so, maybe the flaplet will rouze these Laputan critics to the consensus reality that surrounds them.

[The link to AG’s post viffled from John Scalzi at the Ficlets blog.]

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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2 Responses to And Bookblogs for All

  1. al_zorra says:

    With all that I have on my mind? Worrying about people writing about books on their blogs is just Not There.

    In truth there are several blogs I go to read what the writers there say about books and television and I find them very useful and interesting too. Far more so than most columns in newspapers and magazines, for the reasons above.

    This is from someone who does read reviews and critical work on books in newspapers and magazines and journals regularly.

    There’s another thing about the just plain interested writing about books on their blogs — o.k., I didn’t know about the blog. I just found out about the book or the author or the televison show or the movie. But they’ve been around for a while. I just google, and I find the stuff, and can go from there.

    I don’t tend to bother with the ‘pro’ blogs, and never with the amazon blogs and amateur crits there though.

    Love, C.

    • JE says:

      With you on all of that.

      There is certainly a wider range of criticism on the web–from mere puffery to substantial work. As practically all my reading interests seem to focus on niches (from the Great Uncaring World’s point of view), I have to take relevant criticism where I can find it and I’m a little bemused that anyone does differently.

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