Critics or bloggers?

I love books.  I really do.  But sometimes I wonder about some of the book crowd.  Take Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement and the chair of the judges of this year’s Man Booker Prize.  He’s afraid that too many of us mere readers are judging books.  Imagine it folks… readers who  value their own opinions enough to share them in book reviews and put them out on the web for other readers!

Stothard argues that “If the mass of unargued opinion chokes off literary critics … then literature will be the lesser for it,”.  He even suggests that our unwashed opinions might actually threaten literature of the future.  Of course he probably isn’t talking about kid’s books… I mean are kid’s books even considered literature in Mr. Stohard’s circles!

What do you think?  Are bloggers (many of whom are authors, librarians and teachers) contributing to the demise of literature?

The Reviewer/Author relationship

It seems like these days, everyone is a reviewer.  One of my fav bogs is YA Highway.   Yesterday (Jan. 6, 2011) Veronica Roth posted a really thoughtful piece on the reviewer/author relationship.  Whether you are an author, reviewer or a consumer of books, it’s well worth your time.

It certainly got me thinking about my approach to books and blogging.  I started blogging because I love books, I love talking about them, and I love reading about other people’s take on the books they’ve been reading.  Some bloggers tend to take reviewing very seriously, but my approach to blogging tends to be personal.  I blog about all sorts of things aside from books…gardening, dragon boating, my dog, travel, and anything else that I feel like writing about.  I know my blog it isn’t for everyone, but that’s ok.  I figure that if you want book reviews, there are plenty out there.

I tend to shy away from official “reviews” for lots of reasons; one of them being, I’m more comfortable talking about things I really enjoy.  It may come from my mother’s “if you can’t say anything nice about someone keep quiet” upbringing, or it may just be that life is to short to dwell unpleasantness.  I prefer to talk about books I enjoy, authors I like to follow, and to post information about book awards or events.  I do like to let people know when I read a good book, or sometimes even when I’m a little disappointed in one. As an author myself, I’m careful about dissing books.  I know how hard it is to put your heart and soul on the page and have someone come along and rip it to shreds.  If I hate a book, I’m not likely to spend any more time with it, and reviewing does mean spending more time.  I’d rather just move on to something I like.  Of course there will be good books that I don’t write about if for no other reason than I haven’t had time to read them.  I mean hey, I can’t spend all my time procrastinating with this blog, or I’ll never get anything done on my own books!