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April 25, 2007

And Then He Reviewed Another Book

My column today is part of a new campaign by the National Book Critics Circle. It has a slightly different contributor's note this time:

Scott McLemee writes Intellectual Affairs each week. He has reviewed books for The New York Times, Newsday, The Boston Globe and The Nation, and he takes George Orwell's description of the book critic as "a man pouring his soul down the drain a pint at a time" rather personally.

Very true. Be that as it may, I'm doing my little bit for the cause, and hope it gets some circulation among librarians and university-press folk.

UPDATE: This is a good sign. Librarians are the organic intellectuals whose role is least appreciated. They give a lot of thought to media of all kinds, and they play an important part in organizing and distributing knowledge. I wrote that column with a very strong sense that getting them on our side is, to use the old expression, an urgent task.

(Would I be saying this if my wife were not a librarian? Let's just say that it is a complexly overdetermined matter, and that with the benefit of hindsight marrying one does seem like destiny. Also, as I've said many times, the single smartest thing I've ever done in my life.)

MORE: Links at Romenesko and ArtsJournal. This is all very encouraging.

Posted by smclemee at April 25, 2007 6:12 AM

COMMENTS

Champaign-Urbana, last I checked (YM$MV). But let them wither, and enjoy yer bitters: newpapers are the wrong venue, and have long ill-served the literary. NBCC needs to expand its delivery in new directions (speaking of which, Bolaño gets real attention only after FSG picks up from NDP, but where's any review of Cărtărescu's Nostalgia?) and leave the marketing to the pros.

Posted by: nnyhav at April 25, 2007 8:35 AM

well said.
without your (online) review,
i'd never have printed out
g. scialabba's _divided_mind_
(and then read it, at a sitting).
so thanks.
i don't read newspapers though.
maybe i'll fill in the crossword ...

Posted by: vlorbik at April 25, 2007 10:30 AM

My husband and I read several newspaper Book Reviews every Sunday (NYT & WP), and besides the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, the newspapers are our main exposure to what new books are out there. The internet? Not so much. If there is someone we know and trust recommends a book, we take a look at it, but otherwise we go by the neatly packaged conduit of the Sunday Book Review.

Posted by: Random Kath at April 26, 2007 1:39 PM