Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book Reviews, A Literary Dinosaur?

Who reads book reviews these days? Has the beloved art of the book review gone the way of newspapers and magazines in this increasingly do-it-yourself, every-one's a critic/blogger/writer world?

Slate published the account of Garth Risk Hallberg ('Risk' is his middle name…there's a joke in there somewhere) who found a review of his book on Amazon from one of Amazon's top ten reviewers. He called his publicist who confirmed that they had contacted this reviewer to have them read and review the book.

The internet is pretty crazy these days. The way we get information and what information we trust changes faster then you can say information super highway. Has it come to the point that we trust the average Joe's review more than one done by, say, Alan Cheuse? Are literary scholars so removed from reality and our speedy lifestyle that we relate better to Grady Harp's mangled overly-descriptive cyber-scrawlings?

Whose opinion would you trust more—a renowned Literary Scholar, with a doctorate, teaching credentials and several years of experience or one of Amazon's top ten reviewers whose review was found helpful by 117 out of 143 people?

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