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May 02, 2007

Bookbiz Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Jim Miller points out a Guardian article comparing women's and men's tastes in book-fiction reading. Like Jim, I don't know why anyone was surprised by the results -- dudez like heroes and ideas, galz prefer to compare feelings and receive validation, etc. But apparently some people were.

* Jim also makes some refreshingly down-to-earth (and hence un-P.C.) comments about a Seattle librarian's reading list for children. It can sometimes seem as though teachers and librarians want to prevent little boys from reading, can't it? My own working assumption: School is a conspiracy against boys. (UPDATE: Steve Sailer writes about one small publishing house that has made a point of publishing books for boys.)

* Thanks to FvB, who points out a NYTimes article about how newspapers' book-review sections are shrinking. Book publicists eager for coverage are now almost as likely to approach litblogs as they are traditional publications, it seems, and the National Book Critics Circle has even launched a Campaign to Save Book Reviews. The smart 'n' sassy Book Babes comment.



posted by Michael at May 2, 2007


The "rock star librarian" does appear to be an idiot.

One wonders how much revenue book review sections bring in. How circulation is related to them? One aspect of the "arts" crowd is they seem stubbornly unaware of the need to be profitable. It's like the whole world owes them attention because they...well, because they...well, they enrich life, dammit! They enrich their own lives, at least. Columnists don't keep their column unless the publisher believes they bring in readers. Neither do book review sections. I wonder if the "arts" crowd leans lefty because they benefit from leftist income redistribution, and its as simple as that. As I said---notice how control shifts, and to whom.

Posted by: annette on May 3, 2007 11:27 AM

Jim is right,

It is time to pull the plug on Seattle's dotty little book maven, Nancy Pearl. She has read a million books and they are all wonderful. She goes on these campaigns titled "If all Seattle read the same book." Which translates into 100K local NPR listeners reading one single book over a two month period. Boy, doesn't that make writers feel dandy...

I guess my real beef with the mass book consumers, Nancy Pearl and Robert Birnbaum, is that reading, for me, is a way of sharpening my tastes; I can't jump from Mikhal Bulgokov - a wonderful dreamy book! - over to a Harlequin Romance - just a great read, wonderful! - A great book makes you hate all other books; a great book is like a big hunting knife that warns off all commers (for a time anyway...)

How about "If all Seattle read a different book."

Posted by: Doug Anderson on May 3, 2007 3:41 PM

It's interesting that both the men's and women's lists included To Kill A Mockingbird.

Posted by: Brett on May 3, 2007 4:13 PM

Pearl is an example of a segment of our society with serious emotional problems. She is, in short, a fussbudget. She's never learned you (as Mick Jagger once put it) can't always get you want. Things have to be under control, and you can't tolerate uncertainty. That is to say, she is the product of one of the worst forms of child abuse known to Man, the overprotective parent.

Shielded from the world, she never learned how to lose, how to compromise. She never learned about the rough and tumble of childhood, or about the give and take of human interaction. I suspect she was shielded from any substantial contact with boys until adulthood. I also suspect her first sexual experience was a disaster.

Based on my mother's experience, knocking a bully on his ass (she was nine, he was ten and about twice her size) gives a girl a needed source of confidence. :)

Some people need to start dealing with the world more often.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg on May 4, 2007 5:17 AM

What bothers me the most is the implication that alienation and separation from emotions aren't serious aspects of the human experience. Like, if men have trouble getting in touch with our feelings and experience alienation and despair, that is not a part of human life that literature should address? Please! Not all of life is Oprah!

Posted by: SFG on May 6, 2007 8:38 PM

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