Utne Blogs > Literature

The Best and Worst of Times for Book Review Culture

 by Michael Rowe

Tags: Great Writing, The Nation, The Second Pass, book reviewing, writing, web, print,

picture of books

Here is a great, long essay on book reviewing—focused, in a surprisingly refreshing way, on the web-versus-print debate that everyone is always already sick of—from the pages of The Nation. The article doesn’t necessarily bowl you over with amazing insights sent down from I-wish-I-said-that Land. Rather, John Palatella articulates ideas that have been popping up in myriad places, but not usually expressed with the force and focus used here. Still, if you care about books, about writing on the web, about print coverage of the written word, you should read this essay (maybe even buy a copy of the magazine it appears in?). In the meantime, the following are some of Palatella’s best points, lightly contextualized for your reading pleasure.

On web versus print:

On why book review sections have been disappearing from newspapers:

A caveat!:

After describing the narrowness and intellectual un-seriousness of online book reviewing:

A sorrowing catchphrase for all those writers who struggle to be paid for work everyone expects to read for free online:

The uplifting conclusion, with a little fancy syntax thrown in, for your reading pleasure:

You should really read the whole shebang, if only so you can use, as I have, the word shebang when passing it along to your book-loving buddies.

(Thanks, The Second Pass.)

Source: The Nation

Image by gadl, licensed under Creative Commons.