Here’s an article I read on one of the conventional critics’ opinions on book bloggers:
“Sir Peter Stothard has edited the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) for almost a decade and spent the past seven months reading an “unnatural” 145 books on the search for this year’s Man Booker Prize. He has been left hugely critical over the decline in current standards of literary criticism, and says the rise of bloggers will leave the industry “worse off”.”Criticism needs confidence in the face of extraordinary external competition,” the former editor of The Times says. “It is wonderful that there are so many blogs and websites devoted to books, but to be a critic is to be importantly different than those sharing their own taste… Not everyone’s opinion is worth the same. Eventually that will be to the detriment of literature. It will be bad for readers; as much as one would like to think that many bloggers opinions are as good as others. It just ain’t so. People will be encouraged to buy and read books that are no good, the good will be overwhelmed, and we’ll be worse off. There are some important issues here.”
I totally disagree, and was happy to read Why book bloggers are critical to literary criticism.
What blogs can give readers is a sense of trust that, in professional circles, only the biggest lit-crit names – such as James Wood or Michiko Kakutani – can attain: a “criticism with personality”. They are expressing opinions about books in particular, and literature in general, based on a particular life of reading, written in a critical but non-technical language.
Do you think book bloggers help or harm?
As an aside, I’d request you to go check out the chat I had with Zukiswa Wanner (Commonwealth Prize shortlister) and Rohini Chowdhury (multi-published, acclaimed author) on the A to Z Blog.