Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Books, Bloggers & Critics

My undergrad degree is in English literature so I'm allowed to be a book fanatic. http://www.artsjournal.com publishes a daily digest of arts, culture and ideas with links to an array of newspaper articles. One of today's articles is about the relationship between critics, bloggers and book clubs. The professional critics are having to justify why they are still necessary. They've done some recent research on book club members and found the average member of a book club buys 40 books a year so the publishing industry really needs the book clubs. Personally I think bibliophiles are using everying. I participate in a local bookclub and know the basics about popular cyberspace bookclubs. Even better is popping into a thread where people are listing what they are currently reading or listing their favourite books or authors. I'll pick a couple and google the author's name. Usually the author has a website with a list of his/her books, links to first chapters, links to interviews and articles, etc. Yesterday I picked an author who had written about a dozen books and most of those books had their first chapter online. Read half a dozen first chapters and you've got a pretty good idea of whether or not you're going to keep an eye open for a book by that author. If there's a discussion group for your particular profession, and there always it, people usually get around to recommending books and it's a start for continuing education as the ones just graduating from university are more likely to know about the cutting edge stuff. And yes, I do read the newspaper critics but when the stone is thrown into the pool, my friends are the innermost ring of trusted advisors and the critics are the outermost ring. Why? Because I'm not an intellectual. I'm a person and I'm probably most interested in the same kinds of subject matter as the people I associate with either in person or in cyberspace.

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