Sunday, April 25, 2010

Does anyone read reviews anymore?

Here's a great article about the state of reviewing I ran across in Publishers Weekly.  I've been reading a lot of reviews online lately, and this bit really resonated with me.

"When I read a scathing, thinly veiled ad hominem attack, or a prolonged act of self-aggrandizing cleverness at another's expense, or a condemnation of a single book for the bigger tendency--or tradition--that it would seem to represent, I tend to think negative reviews are ultimately embarrassing and ruinous for everyone, no matter how exciting they may be to read or gossip about.  But when a reviewer manages to point out a book's shortcomings even-handedly, with care and dignity, and with an eye to raising the bar a little higher for readers and for writers, too--that's another story.  I'd love to see more reviews like that."

Timothy Donnelly quoted in
Craig Teicher's "What Poetry Reviews Are For (and Up Against)"
in Publisher's Weekly March 29, 2010

Rain Taxi got mentioned, too, which was kind of thrilling.

The article as a whole is about whether book reviewing--specificially poetry book reviewing--matters in today's culture.  Be sure to check out the full article for several different perspectives on the issue. 

What do you think?  Do you read reviews?  What do you look for in them?  Do you write them?  What would make you want to read professional reviews?  Are there any reviewers or sites you really trust for consistently high quality reviews?

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