Search This Blog

Friday, August 1, 2008

Can book blogs replace literary reviews?

Lissa Warren of the Huffington Post thinks most emphatically not. "I'll tell you what does make my jaw drop: the seemingly widely-held notion that [disappearing] book sections are being adequately replaced by blogs," she roundly declares.

Book blogs might be good for stories on publishing trends, "which as a book publicist and editor I appreciate a great deal," she goes on. "But, for the most part, these blogs don't actually review books. Instead, they cover the business of books, book culture, and the world of the author."

So, should book bloggers make a real effort to post more reviews?

"I realize the intrinsic irony," Ms. Warren concedes. "If people spent less time reading (and writing) blogs, they'd have more time to read books. So, yes, it feels a little funny to be asking bloggers to review more books -- and to take more care when doing so. But I can't ignore the power of blogs to stoke the public interest, any more than I can ignore the fact that the traditional book review outlets are drying up and no one has yet determined how to save them. No, I don't believe blogs will save books -- not in their current format. But I can envision a day when blogs do for books what books have done for people: challenged us, made us think in ways we never would have.

"I'll open it up to the floor now," Ms. Warren concludes. "What book blogs do you read, do they review and, if so, are the reviews as good as the ones in your daily paper?"

1 comment:

Vanda Symon said...

I think blogs are a great addition to the pool of book reviews, and we need them as well as the newspaper reviews. I like to read several opinions on a book before deciding if I want to add it to my groaning shelves.

Blogs I regularly read and enjoy the reviews on are Beattie's Book Blog, and the writer's blogs in New Zealand.

My thing is crime fiction, so I get reviews of books I'd never otherwise hear about in NZ on Detectives Without Borders and Eurocrime. Crime Down Under for Australian titles.

Arts and Letters Daily is also good for a peruse.

I would hate to see the demise of the print review, my daily newspaper experience would be all the poorer without them.
Blog reviews have certainly enabled me to expand my reading horizons.