Thursday, June 7, 2007

"Save Our Book Reviews!" panel discussion

Wednesday | June 13, at 6:30 PM

The New York Center for Independent Publishing
General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen Library
20 West 44th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)
Call 212-764-7021 for more information.
Admission is free.

Moderated by NBCC President John Freeman, the panel will feature Dan Simon, publisher of Seven Stories Press; Sarah McNally, owner of McNally-Robinson Booksellers; Hannah Tinti, author of Animal Crackers and editor of One Story; M.A. Orthofer, managing editor of the web site The Complete Review; and Tim W. Brown, freelance reviewer and NYCIP Executive Council member.

As I've stated in a previous post, I think that this campaign is off topic and is dealing more with the symptom of the problem rather than the disease itself.

The purpose of a review is to discuss the book at hand and aspire to a minor-but-real art form along the way.
— John Freeman, from CRITICAL MASS

It is this kind of thinking that is leading the reading of literature into an activity for a clique of out of touch intellectuals. The fact that people aren't reading is a national crisis that I don't see anyone taking seriously. It's as if people in the book world are oblivious to what is obviously happening around them. ("C'mon, we're making art here!") It makes me wonder where these guys were while the independent bookstores were closing. That should of been the first clue that something was wrong.

This is short sighted campaign. (Although I am glad that someone finally noticed the shakiness in the book industry.) Jumping to the conclusion that saving book reviews is the answer seem peculiar to me. What needs to be saved and cultivated is reading. Some more study and activism needs to be put into why people in America have stopped reading. Then I think the book review situation will fix itself.


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