Oh Stephanie, Stephanie, you had to go there. You made me do it. You got me started.
Stephanie wrote a long response on her blog to an article in the New York Sun: 'The Scorn of the Literary Blogger' by Adam Kirsch. I won't even link to it, I don't want literary cooties. Google if you must.
At first he made some points. It's not ethical to review books you haven't read (Duh!), but then he went into his own version of "Conspiracy Theory."
"...book bloggers have also brought another, less salutary influence to bear on literary culture: a powerful resentment. Often isolated and inexperienced, usually longing to break into print themselves, bloggers — even the influential bloggers who are courted by publishers — tend to consider themselves disenfranchised." Like I'm sitting in the cellar, blogging with one hand and making pipe bombs with the other and plotting to take over the world.
The blogs I read have one thing in common, a passion for reading. The last I've heard writers want people to read their books. Who reads book blogs? Raise your hands boys and girls. READERS. Word of mouth is so important for selling books. Recently, I filled out a survey for a publishing house. One question was: Do you have a blog? Dollars to donuts publishers are taking notice of bloggers. It's free advertising. What's better than that?
Stephanie isn't the only one hopping mad. The Smart Bitches wrote a post on another professional reviewer in the LA Times. Interestingly enough, just today they bewailed the lack of reviews for the romance genre. Where is the romance reader going to find reviews for 'Good Shit vs Bad Shit,' as the Bitches themselves call it? Do you think Alfred P. Higginbottom III from Hoidy-Toity University is going to review The Naked Duke? (Oh yeah, it's real!) I don't think so. The genre fan, whether it's Sci-Fi, romance, whatever, will seek out like minded people on the internet to find what's new, what's good and what to avoid. Book bloggers are a community, a global bookclub. Opinions are as varied as the people who blog.
What these critics fail to understand is that I've never considered myself a 'literary critic.' I'm a reader. I know what I like. I'm not reading a book to tear it apart. I spend my money the way I want to and if I have an opinion I'm going to express it.