Book Review Meritocracy

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8 July 2009

Jacob Silverman has written a kind of “state of book reviewing” piece at the Virginia Quarterly Review.  What I appreciate about this piece — i.e. what I agree with — is this notion of a literary landscape, a finite ecosystem, in which there is only so much review space, only so many books which will garner reviewer attention; it’s a closed and finite system in other words, and, thus, it matters.  

Silverman implies that the brokers of book-review real estate are perhaps not taking their roles as seriously as they should.  For example, he calls out Slate.com on its review of Lauren Conrad’s LA Candy, making the distinction between “the joys of mixing high and low culture” and “something else entirely—a respected publication digging gracelessly into the gossip-rag market.” 

Read Silverman’s article here.

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