They've gone and got themselves in a bit of a lather. It started with a "row" that erupted between critic John Sutherland and the author Susan Hill. Just read the article -- I couldn't begin to summarize.
Then Rachel Cooke commented on the story in The Observer last Sunday. And by "commented" I mean basically took the side of "professional" critics and said there's nothing worthwhile at all in the world of book bloggers. Really, it's a pretty hate-filled rant against people who are doing nothing more than sharing their opinions about books. At one point she says that most of what she found among book blogs was "untrustworthy, banal, and worse of all, badly written." I have no idea what she was looking at, because virtually all of the book bloggers I read are thoughtful, smart, highly educated and extremely literate.
Needless to say, that prompted a reaction -- a very nice point-by-point refutation of most of Ms. Clarke's article. Kind of made me feel good to be a blogger.
I don't know if you can boil this down to anything. It's old vs. new (in terms of media), professional vs. amateur, etc. It seems to me that anything that gets people reading -- especially something different than they would normally choose -- or talking about what they are reading is a good thing. Books are books; you can say some are classics and some are genre fiction -- but they are all books.
We read what we like. Or what we find interesting, or unusual or thought-provoking. I was an English major; I read many classics while I was in school and I've read many since then. But I'm not averse to picking up the occasional mass-market bestseller. I have no problem with liking George Eliot and Michael Crichton. They provide me different things at different times.
So read what you want, and blog about what you want. Someone, somewhere will thank you for it.
Via The BlogHerald