Monday, June 11, 2007

Ethics in Book Reviewing.

With the discussion of the decline of newspaper book reviews; a book by Gail Pool, Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America, coming out at the end of the month; and as someone who writes occasional reviews herself, I watched the Book Expo panel on ethics in book reviewing with keen interest, not the least for its lineup of panelists: perpetual enfant terrible
Christopher Hitchens, Francine Prose, NYTBR's Sam Tanenhaus, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Carlin Romano, the LA Times's David Ulin, and, my personal favorite, John Leonard of the Nation, who used to do socko reviews for CBS Sunday Morning. The panelists dealt with the large, knotty problems of reviewing: should one review friends' books, should papers print responses to reviews, do negative reviews serve a purpose (with Leonard especially eloquent on the topic of reviews as "performance art"), and so forth.

I believe Book TV will rebroadcast the program on June 16th, or you can catch the footage here.

One of the best reviewers in the business, in my opinion, is Edgar winner Jon L. Breen of EQMM and Mystery Scene. Jon can tell you in 50 beautifully composed words whether a book is worth your time or not. I aspire to his standard.

1 comment:

Bill Crider said...

Jon's one of the best, no question.