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Damaging Literature As We Know It

27 Sep

This wasn’t the post I wanted to write today but having seen this yesterday I felt I had to comment on it, and I left it a day as well so it would be a more cohesive post but whether it has had any effect is open to conjecture.

I assume you have all read, or are at least aware of the Book bloggers are harming literature piece that The Guardian reported yesterday.  Now normally I don’t care what the press says, as a lot of it is utter pointless rubbish that is of no real interest to the public at all.  However as I see this as a personal attack upon myself and many others’ valid opinions I thought I may as well rant about it as well.  However I may not be qualified to do so according to Peter Stothard.

More books that I have opinions on, which will, of course in turn damage literature forever and see us struggling to master fire again. That is before the zombies get us, or some other highly implausible scenario.

Now I read a lot of Private Eye, which as you will probably know has no agenda and has its finger on the pulse when it comes to all matters hypocritical, corrupt or just plain dodgy. They regularly report how a number of critics, usually authors themselves with an affinity to a certain publisher will review books in glowing terms no matter their content, equally some have rubbished the books of  their arch nemesis because of personal differences as opposed to the books content. Given that this is rife in the world of reviewers, then why not trust a review from someone with no axe to grind, who just wants to read and appreciate a good book for what it is.

If the opinion is online then it is there to be argued by anyone who comes across it, unlike the papers. Adialogue makes for a better understanding of the book from many points of view ,as I have discovered myself over the past months since restarting this blog and listening to you wonderful people.

Of course it doesn’t stop there, you go into a shop and publishing houses pay to be on the recommended lists and have their books upfront on show in high street stores, like they are something special when a lot of the time they aren’t. Fifty Shades of Grey anyone? With this lack of foresight into what is good literature, how are us ‘the common people’ expected to find the gems in amongst the advertised dross?

Fair enough, perhaps us bloggers write in an unstructured way and let our enthusiasm get the better of us sometimes, but we have no agenda and for me this is what makes us more viable review and honest in our assessments.  I seem to recall Wuthering Heights getting panned by the established critics, heck even Van Gogh was widely panned and only sold one paining whilst he was alive.

So when it comes to it, is it just that the sheep like people have so little discrimination and understanding that they will pick up anything and destroy literature, or is it just that newspapers don’t sell and the opinions of the elitist reviewers lack the confidence of the people because us bloggers and in fact anyone with an enjoyment of books have become more trusted and personal sources for the masses these days?

Anyone who reads and has the ability to explain why they liked/disliked a book and give coherent reasons is fine by me.  I think Mr Stothard should stop the snobbery and perhaps look at actually who exactly is harming literature.

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27 Comments

Posted by on 27/09/2012 in Blogging, My Writings

 

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27 responses to “Damaging Literature As We Know It

  1. LuAnn

    27/09/2012 at 15:16

    I agree wholeheartedly! I would much rather tap into reviews such as yours than to hang my hat on the so-called “professional critics”. BTW, if that photo above is part of your personal library, you may need some new shelves or less books on them (lol). Great post! 🙂

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    • StetotheJ

      27/09/2012 at 15:23

      Yep they are indeed all mine, I need more room, the floor won’t take anymore books so it is cram them on whee I can, although i am always (over) careful to make sure the corners don’t get damaged. Having said that I like to claim it gives the bookshelves a bit more character. If I ever have an arch nemesis author I shall be careful to let you know beforehand to keep my integrity intact. Power to the bloggers!

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  2. changeforbetterme

    27/09/2012 at 15:54

    Great post! Believe me I would take your review over a so called expert any day! I think the person who wrote that article is just trying to save his butt. Just my opinion though 😉

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    • StetotheJ

      27/09/2012 at 16:04

      Haha to right, I suppose I would do the same thing if it meant I’d have to get a real job and not just read and write in my (woefully) sparse spare time. I bets get some more book reviews written now, just to prove my point, or just rub my point in, however you want to interpret it.

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  3. boomiebol

    27/09/2012 at 18:23

    I agree with you 100%. Would rather read your review than some pompous snob passing off as a critic…

    I thought i had a lot of books…but looks like you have more :). Went to a book sale at my local library last Sunday, and i lost my mind buying books…the plan was to buy a bag…i left with 2 boxes lol. Great post as always mon ami 🙂

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    • StetotheJ

      28/09/2012 at 07:54

      Interestingly I have been accused of being a book snob myself before. I vigourously refuted the accusation of course, but maybe there is a bit of snobbery in everyone for their favoured books. You can never have enough books i say, i have a about five more book cases and various piles as stacked up as well as the ones in the photo, I’m a ‘book fiend’ I’ve been told, that is the poplular modern term for a bibliophile interestingly. I wish our library had good books to sell, a bag full would be a dream but two boxes…very impressive. Any standout highlights to make me even more jealous?

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  4. Claire Ady

    27/09/2012 at 19:10

    I don’t need some posh git to tell me what I think about a book, thanks. I agree with your points and am jealous of your book collection. If people don’t want bloggers to blog about books then they just won’t read us

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    • StetotheJ

      28/09/2012 at 07:59

      Fair point, by advertising bloggers in the press, it’s an encouragement for people to go have a look and be turned to ‘the dark side’. Which is always good for us, I must admit I always have one eyes on the stats. Peter Stothard can be thanked for one thing though, an idea for a book post that bumped up my hit ratio for the month.

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  5. pennycoho

    29/09/2012 at 07:01

    No joking here. Your points were valid and well expressed. History will show that when change comes (whatever form.format) that there will be those that fight hard to prevent it, generally it’s because the change happening is good for the many (not the few). Thank you, keep writing and reading, you are good for all of us! Penny

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    • StetotheJ

      29/09/2012 at 10:02

      I intend to carry on doing both unless someone steals my keyboard and eyes. ‘The change happening is good for the many’, I like that ,that sums it up eloquently, although the change to e-books still worries me. I’m always of that more opinions are better than less unless it is to do with what socks I should wear on a night out, then it just gets frustrating!

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      • pennycoho

        29/09/2012 at 14:36

        I think ebooks are still defining their nature (re:masses) it does level the playing field (some) re: those mighty giants the Publishers and their lackeys. But books, they will always be loved and cherished, perhaps more so!. Socks can be such a hard thing to contemplate.

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        • StetotheJ

          29/09/2012 at 14:40

          Tell me about it, I mean they are there, but they don’t do much and when they do it depends how much of yourself you put into them. It is a very interesting dynamic, power to the authors and all that, less publicity in some areas, but then more dilution of ‘good’ literature in whatevr sense of interpretation you wish to use for that. It could almost be an idea for a post….

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          • pennycoho

            29/09/2012 at 14:47

            It is rather embarrassing (some oh okay lots of the “self-published ‘books’ in a kindle) how horrible they are. However ever now and then, a gem, and I have found a ton of literature (free too) available from other countries that I previously had no access to…

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            • StetotheJ

              29/09/2012 at 14:56

              There is always something good to be had from the mass of bad things, and it can be quite exhilarating to find something amazing after trawling through the not so greats. Once again your inimitable positiveness leads me to a hitherto unthought of conclusion. That’s a talent, you should bottle it and sell it on ebay. Not to much though otherwise prices will drop and you want a good price for that, and perhaps commission on any work published. I shall be your agent.

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              • pennycoho

                29/09/2012 at 15:05

                I’m laughing here. I enjoy being in your company so much.

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                • StetotheJ

                  29/09/2012 at 15:11

                  The feeling is mutual, if we lived on the same continent we’d be unstoppable, I get a feeling we’d somehow accidently blow a hemisphere out into space, then we’d be in trouble!

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                  • pennycoho

                    29/09/2012 at 15:13

                    Yes but what an excellent thought in the doing!

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                    • StetotheJ

                      29/09/2012 at 15:15

                      If we can find a cheap hollowed out volcano as a lair, we may just be able to pull this off….

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                    • pennycoho

                      29/09/2012 at 15:18

                      Thats the thing, They’re all filled with stuff and probably too spendy!

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  6. Andrea Kelly

    30/09/2012 at 03:41

    I really want to leave a thoughtful, well-written comment to this post because I really couldn’t believe it when I read that article, but my brain just isn’t working at the moment…Please know I couldn’t agree more! 😛

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    • StetotheJ

      01/10/2012 at 14:53

      I think everyone has had one of those, ‘I don’t believe he said that’ moments. I thought it was a spoof first but there you go. Glad to have you on our side. We should form a club with badges and everything, or maybe even badgers ,that would cause mayhem and possibly bovine TB to local cow herds.

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      • Andrea Kelly

        01/10/2012 at 21:06

        Where do I sign up?? Nobody messes with badgers…
        But seriously, it does sound like a spoof or something. In all honesty, I’m much more likely to pick up a book you’ve reviewed than a “professional” book reviewer who I have no rapport with.

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        • StetotheJ

          02/10/2012 at 18:09

          It’s the personal touch that makes it. I’ll make sure I get some book reviewing done real soon, I’d hate for your cash to burn a hole in your pocket. See I’m always thinking of you.

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          • Andrea Kelly

            14/10/2012 at 23:05

            Always so kind! Lol you did good on these last few, I never have to worry about extra money now! 🙂

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  7. Anna

    01/03/2014 at 08:54

    I couldn’t agree more. What a delight it is, reading your thoughts.

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    • Ste J

      01/03/2014 at 10:29

      I had a vested interest in this one being a bit of a reviewer myself…it annoys me the sheer snobbery of the guys words.

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