Wednesday, January 25, 2006

If anyone doubts ...

... the utility of blogs, they should look at the comments appended to yesterday's post about the dwindling number of book sections.

I was heartened by this comment from Booksquare, for instance, about the need for book review sections to reach the widest possible audience: "The lack of serious coverage of genre fiction, for example, creates a sense of exclusion." There is a hell of lot less phoniness in genre fiction, I find.

I was dismayed to learn fro Jaycurrie that the problem is not confined to this country. But what he says about reviews is right on the money: "There is a certain craft to reviewing which is divorced from expertise. To write a readable 700 word review is tough. "
Reviewers with "credentials" can often be disappointing. What I want in a reviewer is an enthusastic reader who can write those difficult-to-do 700-word readable reviews. And I want to know about the book under consideration; I don't want to be reminded about how smart or well-read the reviewer is. Over the past few years, I have managed to gather a small repertory company of reliable rveiwers. And if I had more space and more money, I would enlarge that company.

Maxine's review reading habits pretty much explains how I got into this business in the first place. And Arthur's observation is precisely what has struck me: A lot of people, obviously, are "passionately concerned about not only books, but how they get reviewed and otherwise 'covered' by the various media." (I also appreciate his having noticed the "wild garden of plants both familiar and exotic" that is The Inquirer's book pages. If every paper in the country did something similar a lot more books would get noticed that deserve to be.)

Will newspaper managers hear it and get it? We shall see.
What ought to be obvious is the contribution blogging can make to helping solve the problem.

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