Sunday, May 17, 2009

I knew it happened with music

Reviewers, distributors, and producers all in each other's pockets, pushing what they think the big new thing will be, rather than letting the next big new thing emerge on its own.

But I always had a particular love of books, and I feel myself very disappointed to finally discover that the publishing industry seems to do the very same thing. Critics have a job to do by reviewing books and being honest. So imagine my surprise when I find six out of eight positive book reviews for a book which is just downright awful. I think the NYT review is most telling in its attempt to hide the negatives inside the overall positive review. But it's Entertainment Weekly which is the only publication with the balls to write an honest review. How bizarre and topsy turvy a world we live in.

I know it's an industry, and I know that the publishers are in it to make money. I accept that, I accept the lists that circulate around publishing houses for the identification of a best seller, and the fact that you can manipulate a book into being a bestseller. That's all fine, it's the market, whatever.

But when critics push a piece of tripe as a good novel (and seriously, there's a scene in this book I was expecting one of the characters to say "Oh, I like a girl with spirit!" it was so contrived), that bugs me.

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