Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Book Reviews

Are book reviews getting too nasty? I honestly cannot posit an informed opinion: I'm not an expert on the history of book reviewing nor have I even been reading many lately (sorry, Frank!).

However, I think the authors of the piece are on to something when they note a lack of nuance in much of today's reviewing. I'm not entirely sure that things have gotten "nastier" so much as gotten a lot less subtle. Bitchiness used to be an artform; one had to quick and clever. As the authors opine,

Alas, there are few contemporary reviewers who can match Oscar Wilde's put-down of French novelist Émile Zola: "Monsieur Zola is determined to show that if he has not genius, he can at least be dull." Or Dorothy Parker's much-quoted lampoon of a book under review: “This is not a novel to be tossed lightly aside. It should be thrown with great force.”
Nowadays, people just degenerate down to the schoolyard school of criticism (e.g. "You suck!").

But, again, what do I know?

(Via Bookninja)

No comments: