shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


this is timely

Quinn Dalton has a piece on the dangers of anonymous fiction reviews over at Mediabistro:

I know from my limited experience with book reviewing—I've only written a couple over the past few years because it is time-consuming, and you don't get paid much, if at all—that it takes a certain amount of courage to attach one's name to a review, particularly when the verdict isn't all positive. Chalk it up to a fundamental weakness in human nature, but as a reader, I want to like the book I give my time and imagination to. Still, I'm willing to point out the flaws and failures, too, and let the readers decide whether the subject matter or the author, if an already-known entity, still attracts them enough to take their chances.

While I agree that anonymity can foster greater honesty in reviews, I believe it also combines a false image of objectivity with the freedom to go beyond honesty into gratuitous harshness. Former Kirkus reviewer Jonathan Taylor recalled how he occasionally enjoyed writing scathing reviews, and that, furthermore, "I was even happy that it was anonymous, that my opinion and my voice were cloaked in whatever institutional authority Kirkus had."


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