Books Magazine

Book Blogs Are Harming Literature! Or, Here We Go Again...

By Bluestalking @Bluestalking

Have you heard? Apparently the head judge person, a/k/a God of All Things Literary, for the Man Booker Prize feels bloggers aren't equipped to discuss literature, that we're actually harming it by expressing our opinions. Woe is me! I have so much power and I'm wielding it for evil!

Who knew? I did, that's who, and now you've gone and spoiled my dastardly plan, you rotten bastard, by telling the world.

In reality, this is round 100 in a rather dreary, tired and overwrought attempt by professional book critics to squash "amateurs" who write about books, share what we like and don't and what we feel the author does well or badly. Meanwhile, these same poor critics are apparently left twiddling their thumbs, nothing to do, upset the average reader's attention is split between high-brow publications like The New York Review of Books - which should rightly be called The New York Political Diatribe - The Times Literary Supplement, etc., and lowly book blogs. Because you can't read books and have an opinion without a byline, silly stupid people! And, should you dare read, you must never tell a soul what you think. Clearly this is so, because what serious writer doesn't base  his or her entire career on our opinions?

Again, amazing the power we hold for such an ignorant bunch of mouth-breathing idiots.

Fun as it is to rip into these stick up their arse types - who, unwittingly, make such easy targets -  it's time to put credit where it's due. It's people like Peter Stothard who ruin literature, imposing their own arbitrary and subjective opinions deciding what's good writing and what isn't on the basis of what's understood a bit too easily - that which tells a gripping and linear story - and what's so obscure only a critic can differentiate how great a piece of writing it is. What we uneducated bloggers can't seem to get through our thick skulls is the fact the more obscure a book the better, never mind how affected the style, how ridiculously overloaded the metaphors and "poetic" language that, when examined, makes absolutely no sense at all, held up to the light of day. Heresy, isn't it.

Ah, but here's the rub. Who, exactly, is to blame if readers find what we have to say worth their time? Could it be the same audience who would be reading your high-brow opinions, otherwise? Oh, dear... We'd best stop forcing them to read our blogs and lead them back into the fold. Because surely no one reads both articles written by professional critics and the offal we book bloggers churn out. Who could be interested in more than one opinion?

Clearly, we bloggers had best pull up stakes and let the professionals do their jobs. Dry your tears, Mr. Stothard! It will all be fine once we bloggers stop taking attention away from the people whose opinions count. Then we'll see what a resurgence there will be in literature, how much it will improve once we've been silenced! Perhaps we should even stop reading, stop buying books. Surely even that taints Literature with a capital "L"? Or are you okay with allowing us access to books?

But you tell me, while I wipe the drool off my chin. I'm far too ignorant to make suppositions.

Awaiting your reply.


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