Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

a library newsletter, a compendium of interesting tidbits, a communication tool....from Bailey Library @ Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. (Site Feed)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Book Reviews: Endangered Species....

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune, among others, have recently opted to downsize their book review sections or have elected to eliminate them completely. Author Michael Connelly defends book reviews in this Los Angeles Times column and some have started a petition to save the Atlanta Journal-Constitution book section. Others point the finger of blame at blogs -- where any "noodle with a keyboard" can join the discourse. Traditional print reviewers are also defended at the National Book Critics Circle blog. The New York Times chimes in with "Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?" (Don't tell me they are thinking about eliminating their Book section... I don't want to live in that world.)

Roger Sutton of the Hornbook states the problem succinctly... "the real distinction is not between paper and bloggers; it's between editorial authority and unsifted opinion. That's where the fight will be." This will have a familiar ring to those who teach information literacy skills and the critical evaluation of unfiltered information on the internet. As usual, I don't understand why it has to be either/or... both sources are valuable in their own way. I believe most information consumers do possess the basic judgment to distinguish between solid, scholarly, and reflective essays on books and literature and synopses and recommendations from other book lovers. Depends on what you are looking for, right?

And just to mix it up a little, The Wall Street Journal announces the coming launch of its Book Channel, online videos featuring authors promoting their work. The New York Times already has a book review podcast.

Image from Edward Gorey, available on t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, etc.


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