Welcome to 2015. I’m trying to figure out how I want to use this space going forward; I miss having blog posts (although so far I don’t miss the process of creating them), and I’m determined to find some way to blog about books without feeding that awful “cog in the machine” feeling. In the meantime, Jonathan McCalmont posted something that really sums up my feelings about reviewing/blogging/talking about books. He wrote:
I believe in the value of negative reviews because I want to be part of a literary culture that puts the emotional and intellectual needs of ordinary readers above those of professional elites. Unlike Silverman, I don’t yearn for a culture of intellectual combat but I do want to exist in a cultural space where people feel empowered by their community to talk about books in the way that feels most appropriate to them. I want people to be unafraid to talk about books in ways that lead to discussions about more important things and it is impossible for fans to have that type of freedom when they are expected to bear in mind the interests of authors who are trying to build their careers and manage their brands. I understand that the publishing industry has fucked over a generation of authors and tricked them into serving as their own publicists but that doesn’t mean that ordinary readers are morally required to enable those professional aspirations. I don’t want to be part of a literary culture that exists only to serve the interests of professionals and that is why I will always defend a fan’s right to produce brutal, scathing and viciously negative reviews.
(You can find his whole post, and the others in the “blogtable,” here.