Thursday, May 17, 2007


An achingly dull, incoherently written and plangently unintelligent article on book reviewing by someone named Aaron Tucker (apparently, he's for hire), complete with a "works cited" list of works not so much cited as fleetingly referred to. Three thumbs down. Boo. (Apparently, I can do this sort of thing here, because a blog is the place for personal opinion--or so Mr. Tucker has opined, personally, in an online magazine article (which is not a blog (in case you're confused)).) [God, I love brackets!]

A different take on reviewing, from a somewhat more articulate and less painfully earnest source.

UPDATE: A very succinct statement about a very simple distinction that folks like Mr. Tucker (and so many others) fail to grasp: a book review is not scholarly criticism. An instance that comes to mind is a particular goof who keeps accusing Carmine Starnino of not being a good scholar. In other late-breaking news: black coffee is not Valium. And my damn cat, no matter how often I call him a dog (and I do), still won't bark or fetch my slippers.

See also Steven Beattie's remarks on the subject.

The thing that gets me is this refrain that "the people who write negative reviews just don't understand/appreciate the tradition(s) the book's coming from." If that's so, then maybe the people who negatively review negative reviews just don't understand/appreciate the history of book reviewing. So if they really believe their own rhetoric about not picking on things that aren't their cup of tea, maybe they should just shut up. Hm? Or here's a more constructive idea: if you come across a review you don't agree with, instead of whingeing about how the reviewer just doesn't get it, WRITE YOUR OWN DAMN REVIEW! Just try not to sound illiterate in the process, okay?

My main goal as a reviewer/critic: to write the sort of reviews and criticism I like to read. Nefarious, no?

No comments: