39 Following

Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Now It's Time to Say Goodbye - Dale Peck I read this some years ago. I'd thought Martin and John fairly interesting. This novel wasn't.*. And around this time Peck began writing savage reviews--later collected as Hatchet Jobs--in a manner that seemed to me kind of dully vicious. (I actually enjoy viciousness. And niceness. As long as they're incisive, or challenging, or well-written. I would read a book called "Scalpel Work.". Hatchets aren't known for their precision. Neither is Peck.). Dull is a good qualifier for this novel, too.

This essay by Jen Doll at The Atlantic is excellent, and a useful historical context for the current Goodreads kerfuffle. The essay was prompted by a flare-up at Amazon over a review of a novel by Emily Giffin that received an angry counter-review/attack by the author's husband, which then led to a review arguing that this other reviewer won't read Giffin's books any more because of that attack....and then that "author-based" review got removed from Amazon. Doll also links to a Slate article lamenting the niceness of the new review culture.

The essay examines how social media is altering the landscape of reviews, and makes the point that meanness and "niceness" are a bit different, but not a strange new phenomenon in reviewing, online. Dale Peck, who was a complete dick in his reviews, is merely one example in a long illustrious history of reviewing savagery. What's really new, to my mind, is the monetization of reviews. If Michiko Kakutani or Dale Peck rip you a new one, you could savage others or try to attack the venue and the injustice of major reviewers... but if you're on a website focused on building traffic to drive profitability, you can go after reviewers and play the refs, and that shit gets taken care of.

*Obligatory reference to this book under review.