Here's the comment I left over there, in case it never shows up.•Well, what you put out is what you get back. (Seems to be a law of the universe, according to every single spiritual tradition I've ever read, including the Talmud). (Currently reading "God Is a Verb" by Rabbi David Cooper; excellent book.)My tendency is usually to do as Jake suggests, read with in a favorable light to begin with, and subtract points as they come up. I suppose that assuming the worst is a safer road, in many instances, but it carries its own assumptions.And then there's the middle road of approaching with no a priori assumptions or attitudes or expectations, keeping an open mind, waiting to see, reserving judgment until later. Which is what I usually strive to do, unless experience has taught me that certain writers or critics are more likely than not to disappoint. But you never know.I could argue about the commitment to argument, but that would arguing, which is something I'm not committed to. Frankly, I find book blogs that aren't attack dogs at heart to be far more pleasant reading; then, when they do take a committed stand (as some of your symposiasts have indeed done, on certain books, at certain times, even against the general tide), it stands out even more. Life, as Deborah Tannen ably pointed out not long ago, consists of much more than just argument culture. Or ought to, probably.Just a thought or two.•To add to that: I really do believe that what you put out is what you get back. One's general attitude, even if this IS all public introspection, creates or filters for certain responses. I find book blogging to be just fine when it isn't an argument culture.