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All The News That Is Fit To Print. For the...

There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the publishing realm over the downsizing or wholesale elimination of newspaper print review sections due to lack of advertising dollars. Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Book Review section was the latest casualty. AJC’s decision to terminate Book editor, Teresa Weaver, started a print and blogging furor. A hue and cry was raised and some even went to picket the AJC.

The fact is that the demise of print reviews is meaningless to me. The Atlanta Journal Constitution never reviewed books that interested me. Ditto for the LA Times (books are now merged with opinion section). The same for the San Francisco Chronicle (section cut from 6 to 4 pages).

When the LA Times re-purposed its book review section, it also launched a website aimed at increasing book coverage. I was heartened to hear that it planned to expand its coverage, at least online. Then I read what type of books would be reviewed: “For books there will be columns be about mysteries, science fiction, children’s literature, literary news and more reviews than in print.”

I emailed LA Times to inquire about its conspicuous exclusion of the romance genre. I’ve been holding my tongue for a while now awaiting a response from the LA Times but having read the cry for the bigger tent discussions at Critical Mass, my teeth have let go. Critical Mass, the blog of the National Book Critics Circle, noted in a blog entry that while blogs may have their place, the purpose of newspapers is that they provide a place for “bigger tent discussions”.

With book stores carved up into smaller and smaller genre fields, from chick lit to lad lit to graphic novels and so on, it’s important that there’s a place where books by writers, regardless of their genre, can be reviewed in front of a large audience by critics who have experience in the field

The problem is, NBCC, your big tent discussion clearly has no place for writers like Deborah Smith, Madeline Hunter, or Julie Kenner. If science fiction and fantasy is becoming mainstream, why no straight press reviews of the amazing dragon shifting series by Shana Abe?

The LA Times and nearly every other print book review section, other than the Chicago Tribune and the Detroit Free Press, has basically given me and every other romance reader the big old fuck off sign for decades now. Or since forever.

There are emotionally powerful books labeled romance whose contents are summarily dismissed as not worthy because of a title, a cover or even because it ends happily. Deborah Smith never was reviewed by the now unemployed Teresa Weaver. Smith has always written emotional, touching Southern novels which focused on the family dynamic but for some reason, her books never were interesting enough for Weaver, a purported champion of Southern writers.

Karen Rose writes consistently good suspense novels but perhaps because they involve sex and end with a committed couple, they somehow lack gravitas that PJ Tracy or Robert Parker enjoy. Elizabeth Hoyt‘s fall release, The Serpent Prince, is breathtaking in its emotional scope, with its heightened violence underscoring the tenderness between the main protagonists. There’s something glorious in the ability to be swept away into Meljean Brook‘s June release, Demon Moon, a complex world where vampires battle for rights amongst the supernatural. In September, Eve Kenin breathes new life into the urban fantasy world with Driven whose post apocalyptic vision of the future (or alternative dimension) balances intricate world building with character development.

If you truly are interested in literary criticism and discussion to take place under a bigger tent, why not include the genre that comprises over 50% of mass market sales? Whose umbrella includes everything from high fantasy to urban fantasy to contemporary dramas to costume dramas. Whose writers have backgrounds that vary from scientist to pilot to doctors and lawyers and professors? Whose readership is in the 60 millions and 42% of the readership has a bachelor’s degree or higher? Whose books are reflective of the changing mores of society as well as the variance within the body of readers regarding the definitions of sexuality, desire, hope, fantasy, redemption, and love?

We’ll never be included in that big tent discussion and frankly I am happy to give you all the finger right back. I won’t be signing your petitions, sitting at your rallies or blogging about your terrible quandry of declining readership and advertisers. Perhaps if you understood that women’s fiction which ends happily isn’t a disease that requires antiseptic solution if you even breathe the same space as the pulp, you wouldn’t be in dire straights.

I’m not at all sorry that your big exclusionary tent, that has no room for me and my people, is falling down around your ears. The whole point of book reviews seems to be to get people to read more books. Of course, those mainstream lit critics want the “right” books to be read. But if literacy is what is at stake here, don’t sneer at those of us who read a book a night. It might not be your choice, but it’s reading. We readers beget readers. Maybe if you made space for us, you might still have a print review section and advertisers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

49 Comments

  1. Danielle
    May 15, 2007 @ 05:12:41

    I live in the Chicagoland area, I wrote the editor for the Chicago Tribune thanking them for including “romance” books in their reviews. I haven’t figured out yet how often they review “romance” books.

  2. Nora Roberts
    May 15, 2007 @ 05:14:55

    Jane, you kick ass. Love, Nora

  3. Tara Marie
    May 15, 2007 @ 05:37:27

    Bravo!!

    Can you hear the applause all the way from Upstate New York??

    We can only hope one of the news services will pick this up.

  4. December Quinn
    May 15, 2007 @ 06:32:03

    You rock, Jane. Absolutely 100%.

  5. Sarah Frantz
    May 15, 2007 @ 07:11:32

    Now I want to have YOUR babies, just like I did Jenny Crusie a while ago.

    You’re amazing and we all love you and that’s EXACTLY IT!!!!! That’s why I haven’t given a damn about the loss of book review sections — they’ve never reviewed what I’ve been interested in. I think you should send this to every large newspaper in the country.

  6. Gennita Low
    May 15, 2007 @ 07:17:54

    Jane,

    Exactly what I thought when I read about Weaver, but you said it deliciously better. You rock!

  7. Charlene
    May 15, 2007 @ 07:29:36

    You said it. And so well.

  8. Selah March
    May 15, 2007 @ 07:46:51

    Yes. And yes again. Thank you for speaking up and doing it well.

  9. Christine Rimmer
    May 15, 2007 @ 08:28:01

    Go, Jane! Seriously, exactly.

    “Big tent?” Hullo. Seems like pretty small tent to me–given that excludes such a massive slice of the popular fiction pie.

  10. Monica
    May 15, 2007 @ 08:38:48

    We'll never be included in that big tent discussion and frankly I am happy to give you all the finger right back. . . I'm not at all sorry that your big exclusionary tent, that has no room for me and my people, is falling down around your ears.

    Booyah! See, y’all romance folks do know how it feels, but you don’t really get it, do ya?

    Off I run to RAWSISTAZ. Boom!

  11. kardis
    May 15, 2007 @ 08:46:41

    Go Jane, go! I dislike many things about my local paper (Chicago Tribune) but I do appreciate their inclusion of Romance in the book reviews. Really though, I find so much more value in reader blogs that I don’t really read print reviews at all. (Also, I refuse to give the Trib my money but that’s irrelevant to this discussion!)

  12. Jane
    May 15, 2007 @ 09:09:31

    John Charles is the person who does the reviewing for the Chicago Tribune. He’s a librarian, I believe, and active on the RRA-Listserve.

  13. Meljean
    May 15, 2007 @ 09:17:06

    Jane, you rock so freaking hard. Add my finger (and I’ve got big hands, so it’s at least worth a double birdie.)

  14. Jayne
    May 15, 2007 @ 09:38:42

    And Jane’s baby is bee-you-te-ful!

  15. Why we need more black book review blogs | the way there
    May 15, 2007 @ 09:40:44

    [...] thought this was hilarious. Jane has a diatribe against the mainstream media because they exclude romance as a general [...]

  16. Darlene Marshall
    May 15, 2007 @ 11:02:01

    Brava, Jane! Well done!

  17. Teddy Pig
    May 15, 2007 @ 11:22:08

    Great post Jane… some people will never “get it” and others wish lithium was an over the counter medication.

  18. LinM
    May 15, 2007 @ 11:23:46

    Great point, well said. And even if papers did review romance, I think that they would not measure up to the wide ranging, well written, well researched and sometimes killingly funny reviews/opinions posted on my favourite sites.

  19. Rosie
    May 15, 2007 @ 12:24:42

    Very well said. Not that you need it, but I add my kudos on articulating a significant POV for many people. Thank you Jane!

  20. EC Sheedy
    May 15, 2007 @ 12:24:45

    What a fabulous roast and toast, Jane! I hope this article gets exposure . . . everywhere! I always glance at the review section of my papers, and usually it just gives me the blues.

    Although the paper did do a fabulous write up on Nora a while back. That was a bright day. :-)

    EC Sheedy

  21. Roslyn
    May 15, 2007 @ 12:25:47

    Too bad lithium is ineffective for fucktards . . .

  22. Jane
    May 15, 2007 @ 12:30:48

    *cough* Hmm. In an effort to redirect the conversation so we aren’t talking about lithium and other drugs, although speaking of intoxicants, last night I had a glass and a half of wine and had to go lay down, but if I did send this to newspapers, do I send it to the editorial email? And I have to take out the cursing. Is “finger” okay?

  23. Shiloh Walker
    May 15, 2007 @ 12:35:09

    Jane, I think it’s wunnerful just as is.

    Well said!

  24. Jennie
    May 15, 2007 @ 12:43:47

    Woo hoo! Go Jane!

    I remember back a couple years ago when the NY Times was doing a revamping of their book review, with promises of including more mainstream fiction, and they reviewed NR’s Northern Lights and it pissed. me. off. Here. Ugh. The exact same attitude as always: this is sooo popular, but I’m just too smart to understand why that should be. (And they got her number of books in print wrong–saying it was 2.5 mil instead of 250 mil. Huh.) And I saw no real change in their coverage–it was still same old, same old.

    But I agree with LinM that newspapers can’t keep up with the bloggers anyway. :)

  25. Robin
    May 15, 2007 @ 12:48:15

    Well, I am sorry to see print reviewing sections go, only because I fear a more general anti-intellectual streak in American culture these days (well, at least these past seven years or so), but I definitely agree with this:

    Maybe if you made space for us, you might still have a print review section and advertisers.

    Although OTOH, given the resistance to critical review of Romance inside the genre itself, would there be widespread acceptance of the kind of reviewing that’s often done in those stand alone sections?

    IMO, it’s going to take either a) more authors from Romance who mainstream beyond women’s fiction, and/or b) more voices from other genres and academic backgrounds who publicly declare their love of Romance for a major crossover to really take hold. I’m not a big fan of Oprah, but seriously, if she had one Romance novel in her book club, the landscape would change. At the very least it would wipe away the memory of Kelly Ripa’s “book club,” in which Romance was pushed as “frivolous and fun” — and doesn’t that venerate the genre nicely.

  26. Jane
    May 15, 2007 @ 13:11:56

    Although OTOH, given the resistance to critical review of Romance inside the genre itself, would there be widespread acceptance of the kind of reviewing that's often done in those stand alone sections?

    To me, it seems that the resistance comes mainly from authors and the readership of a newspaper’s book review section would be less likely to care about whether an author’s feelings are hurt by a critical review.

    I don’t think that there needs to be more mainstream acceptance by anyone but the readers. After all, if 50% of the mass markets are romances, that is a huge body of people. If even a small percentage of those readers started paying attention to the book review section because it had 2 or 3 book reviews of books that mattered to them, wouldn’t avon, harlequin, etc. pay for advertising in those print papers?

    I don’t think that print newspapers will be around in 10 years (even the NYTimes owner thinks that) so the future of “reviews” are not in print medium, imo. I do think that online newspapers could have book review sections but to exclude romance why include mysteries, science fiction and fantasy makes no sense.

  27. Jan
    May 15, 2007 @ 13:25:06

    I have no idea where or how you send such things, but send away.

    They’re rather silly alienating the majority of readers by ignoring or denigrating their tastes. They could be excused I suppose if romance readers were yet one more fringe element, because not all the niches can be covered. But when a group is as powerful a monetary force as romance readers it’s just not very wise.

    They probably would see it as a restaurant critic reviewing Big Macs, each being the same week after week. They don’t realize that it’s rather more like the same critic reviewing comfort food, different by everyone’s definition but the end result being the same, a warm happy feeling.

    And you know, the three main gourmet magazines I subscribe to these days started including comfort food several years ago. It not only helps them stay afloat because readers like it, but they actually found they liked it themselves. :)

    Nice column.

  28. Jessica Inclan
    May 15, 2007 @ 13:26:10

    I agree that there should be an opening up to all genres in review sections. And what is worse is that the NYT and the SF Chron, for example, will review the same few books, in different weeks, so there is no variety.

    I would love to see romance reviewed seriously in either of those publications, but I don’t think it will happen soon. So go blogs!

    Jessica

  29. Jane
    May 15, 2007 @ 13:29:19

    Jessica – one of the criticisms I read of print review sections was that they failed to promote regionally related authors and books which dovetails with your comment about the newspapers being too similar in content.

  30. Bev(BB)
    May 15, 2007 @ 13:29:44

    I do think that online newspapers could have book review sections but to exclude romance why include mysteries, science fiction and fantasy makes no sense.

    Well, it does make a certain sort of sense. Apparently romances don’t have any problems selling and the others do and therefore need some help . . . just saying, people. I was actually thinking about this a while ago. Business people are not stupid. One does not intentionally alienate that large of a market. Nor snub them. Nor even overlook them. The simple fact is that the romance market does exist. The books do sell.

    Or at least that’s what we’re told. Now either the numbers are right or they aren’t. If they are, then why are we snubbed as a market so routinely?

    It makes NO sense. Period.

    Yeah, I know, the stigma. But really, give me a break on that one for just a second and think with your pocketbook not your hearts. People are greedy when you get right down to it. Are any of you really going to tell me that any good business CEO worth their salt is going to ignore the bottom line for that long and that blatantly just because of the stigma? Particularly when there are ways to do it and get “around” the stigma . . . and still appeal to the largest buying block in the free world, i.e. the woman of the house, be she homemaker or fellow executive, professor or construction worker?

    Somebody better wake up.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that companies like Harlequin have all the rest of them brainwashed in fear. Who knows. ;p

  31. Eva Gale
    May 15, 2007 @ 13:54:03

    That, Jane, is perfection.

  32. Jessica Inclan
    May 15, 2007 @ 13:58:35

    The SF Chron does do some nice work with local authors, but, for instance, the biography of Ralph Ellison was reviewed in the section Sunday, was reviewed elsewhere in recent weeks. Okay, he’s huge, but why do they all pick the obvious? I guess these books/writers/publishing houses have great publicists, but for people who read about books, the world seems very small.

    Jessica

  33. Robin
    May 15, 2007 @ 14:14:20

    Am I the only Bay area reader who doesn’t like the Chronicle?

    I don't think that there needs to be more mainstream acceptance by anyone but the readers. After all, if 50% of the mass markets are romances, that is a huge body of people. If even a small percentage of those readers started paying attention to the book review section because it had 2 or 3 book reviews of books that mattered to them, wouldn't avon, harlequin, etc. pay for advertising in those print papers?

    Good point, Jane. Given the inclusion of other genres, I don’t really understand the exclusion of Romance, because, to be honest, I’ve always seen the press as more money driven than anything else (i.e. advertising dollars rule over snobbery). Could it be that the reviewers don’t want to review Romance? Maybe none of them read the genre and have a negative opinion of it. I wonder what would happen if some of the blogsphere reviewers offered their reviewing skills to the newspapers. Several Romance authors are also journalists (Pamela Clare, for example). Have any weighed in on this issue?

  34. Jane
    May 15, 2007 @ 14:26:08

    I think that is the point, Robin, that so many of the reviewers in print have an impression of romance as nothing better than kleenex. I wish Deborah Smith would come and comment because I can’t remember where she did comment about Weaver and Weaver’s predictability in regards to the novels she reviewed.

    It’s not like all the print reviewers are degreed literary folk like Dr. Frantz. I don’t know what Jenny Shank’s credentials are but she reviews for the Rocky Mountain News and describes herself as “I'm currently a stay-at-home mom writing book reviews for $50 a pop, trying to read and review as many books as I can during the few minutes when my 11-month-old deigns to nap, and I mess up sometimes.”

    So maybe this circles back to Kassia Krozser’s blog article on romancing the blog, If Not You, Then Who? I suppose we bloggers could offer up our services to review books but that takes more effort than I want to engage in right now.

    The ironic thing is that blogburst, this company that sells our feed to newspaper organizations all over the internet including Reuters and the USA Today, has over 98 literature and arts blogs. And our blog, a romance blog, is the number one literature and arts blog within blogburst. That tells me that there is an appetite for this type of literature outside our small circle of internet readers so that if print newspapers wanted ad support maybe they should start reviewing a few mass markets to see what kind of interest would be peaked. It could be that mass market reviews and the ads for books like Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Mary Balogh, Lisa Kleypas, and so forth, could pay for the print space for more literary works.

  35. Robin
    May 15, 2007 @ 14:37:26

    I think that is the point, Robin, that so many of the reviewers in print have an impression of romance as nothing better than kleenex.

    I’m sorry Jane; it was sort of unclear to me whether your editorial piece is aimed at the NBCC or newspaper editorial departments or reviewers themselves — or all three. IMO the NBCC is one issue and the individual reviewers another, for precisely the reasons you state. Some of the most dismissive comments I’ve seen about the genre don’t come from the literary snobs, so to speak, but from mainstream readers who perceive themselves to have somewhat gentrified tastes in fiction (aka won’t touch Romance even though they’ve never read one). So strange.

  36. Jane
    May 15, 2007 @ 14:39:49

    The post was aimed at the NBCC specifically, but more a commentary on the entire state of print review today. My comment, though, was about reviewers and in response to your post.

  37. EC Sheedy
    May 15, 2007 @ 14:42:59

    Can’t understand why some newspapers can’t stop smelling their armpits long enough to check out some reader blogs–and *buy* some romance reviews from them. The reviews here would certainly work.
    EC Sheedy

  38. LinM
    May 15, 2007 @ 18:00:00

    But Robin identified explicitly that there are 2 issues here:

    a) Should Romance be reviewed in print?- absolutely (except that I don’t think that many print reviewers can measure up & I don’t care about print reviews)

    b) Are print reviews relevant? This is a very interesting debate and it is happening in all artistic fields (Terry Teachout referenced serious and committed stagebloggers only last week). I have never been a fan of print reviews. Before the profileration of online blogs, my favourite reviews came from book panels on CBC radio – the reviews were strong because they involved a discussion among interested, passionate, and diverse panelists plus wonderful responses from the listeners. Blogs now serve the same function. An articulate blog invites cogent responses – I get both a stimulating review and thought-provoking commentary from a diverse audience. Does romance deserve this attention – you bet. But all genres deserve the same and I don’t think that print reviews are providing the same enriched environment as blog reviews. So to the NBCC, I say: sayonara – I want more – I can get more. It may take some work to sort out which blogs are interesting, relevant and thought-provoking but in the long run the blogs provide a richer environment.

  39. The Good, The Bad and The Unread » If you Blog it, They will come…
    May 15, 2007 @ 20:15:30

    [...] Or in this case write it… or better yet print as in newspapers and such things. Dear Jane blogs about the cry of woe going up in the world today as many papers are closing their pages to book reviews. And she makes many a good point in: All the News that’s Fit to Print. For the rest, there are blogs. [...]

  40. Robin
    May 15, 2007 @ 23:14:17

    Exactly, Lin. My brain has to slowly plod along sometimes, so thanks for clarifying that so well.

    Your comment about print reviews v. blogs made me think about the fact that some of this is really a cultural evolution. For example, I still like to read the Chronicle of Higher Ed in print, and I tend to read cases and law review and academic journal articles in print, as well. When I read an academic article, the conversation I’m having is more internal, and that works for me, at least as long as I’m trying to figure out what I think. But the blog environment is just different to me, in large part because it’s more of a spontaneous and interactive conversation. And for a discussion of books, the blog environment also works differently, IMO, than, say, the NY Times Book Review. Or perhaps I should say that there’s a certain culture evolving in blogs that is different from that of print reviews. I don’t think one is intrinsically superior to the other, but I do think they are somewhat distinct cultural spaces, and one is clearly on the ascendancy, IMO.

    As for the whole future of newspapers thing, IMO there is a sort of crisis of legitimacy for American journalism as a whole. The way the NY Times sat on the domestic surveillance issue for a year before printing it, controversy over the way Iraq casualties are reported, the whole notion of independent newspapers or non-mega-corporate ownership, etc. Not that television media is any better, nor the Internet in many cases. But it’s harder for me, at least, to have faith in US journalism today than any other time in my relatively brief life (I certainly am not old enough to compare it to the Vietnam War coverage, for example). I remember during the 2000 election some American reporters talking about how they had to start writing for European newspapers because the American press wouldn’t report some of their issues (esp. those critical of the Gore/Bush election). It was then I started reading as many non-American news sources as I could track down online.

  41. Nora Roberts
    May 16, 2007 @ 05:17:05

    ~Are any of you really going to tell me that any good business CEO worth their salt is going to ignore the bottom line for that long and that blatantly just because of the stigma?~

    Pretty much yes. I can tell you that it took big, sweaty campaigning by my publisher to get a review of one of my books in the NYT. And the same to book me ONCE on The Today Show. The NYT book reviewer didn’t want to touch Romance, and the same held for TTS booker. It’s more than disinterest, it’s unquestionable bias toward the genre.

    To use myself as an example, the basic attitude is: She writes Romance. We don’t do that.

    I don’t get it. Never have. But it’s proven to be the reality throughout my career.

  42. Jane
    May 16, 2007 @ 06:28:43

    Wow. I guess I never realized that. I didn’t use La Nora as an example because I figured she was reviewed but shit, if that doesn’t show the literary snobbishness of the mainstream print review press, what does? Fah.

    Part of me has a “who cares” attitude because I truly believe print is in the past. There was a report earlier this week about the Tribune’s financial difficulties. Advertisers are losing faith with the print medium and once ads are gone. . . well, so is the print.

    I read one blogger who said that all the unhappy people are those who are out of a job or see themselves as becoming culturally irrelevant.

  43. Bev(BB)
    May 16, 2007 @ 07:06:03

    To use myself as an example, the basic attitude is: She writes Romance. We don't do that.

    I don't get it. Never have. But it's proven to be the reality throughout my career.

    Okay, I can get literary bias, but not lack of plain ole capitalist greed. That’s just un-American. (Pardon to all the un-Americans out there. I’m having a ranting moment, here. ;p) Seriously, the war cries by others that we should do something to gain respect for the genre have never moved me because frankly what I read is what I read. I really don’t care what other think of what I read.

    This though, this gets my attention. Big business doesn’t want our money? I think not. More like they don’t realize the market is even there which truly boggles the mind. This is where the war should be fought.

    Why? You want romances talked about and discussed? Get them sold and advertized in exactly the places they’re not now and suddenly everyone and their uncle, er, aunt will be analyzing them to death. They just need to know that many people are buying them.

    Oh, and one more thing. What you all were talking about before about the difference between print reviews and the blogosphere. A lot of you probably won’t like this but I believe it’s most likely simply a case of the difference between reviews written on blogs by fans as opposed to those otherwise written “mostly” by non-fans. I said mostly. Let’s face it, even when it’s not rabid, the blogosphere has very much a fandom feeling, just a new evolution in fandoms development.

    And maybe that’s the fracturing that I’ve been talking about. Where before a lot of fandoms had to exist in closed communities, now we have these interlocking open ones that allow for a lot more sharing and interaction. They also allow for a lot more individual personalities and disagreements. But they also allow for more space and time outs, too. People don’t have to conform to a community identity any more. They can pick and choose and bounce around all over the place, depending on their mood or interests on any given day.

    Not sure what that means for the topic at hand, though, except that I’m not sure any one place offering reviews could ever satisfy everyone’s need for information and variety anymore than the books do. I tend to think any print or even video outlet that doesn’t get on here and learn about the blogosphere will be left behind eventually because this is where I get almost all my news first nowadays. I check the TV after I check here. And I don’t get a paper. I subscribe to my local paper online and I’m irritated that they don’t have an RSS feed yet.

  44. Shiloh Walker
    May 16, 2007 @ 09:22:58


    Business people are not stupid. One does not intentionally alienate that large of a market. Nor snub them. Nor even overlook them. The simple fact is that the romance market does exist. The books do sell.

    I dunno… I’ve been snubbed by several bookstore managers. Bookstores like to sell books. Rumor has it signed ones catch attention and catching attention is the first step to selling a book. That hasn’t stopped several managers from sticking their nose up in the air when they realize I write… romance .

    I get that polite little smile, the one that says, well of course you write romance, what else could you possibly write…

  45. Bev(BB)
    May 16, 2007 @ 09:39:53

    testing

  46. jmc
    May 16, 2007 @ 10:21:44

    Anybody subscribe to Harper’s? The first letters in the June issue is one responding to Cynthia Ozick’s essay on the state of literary fiction, literary criticism and culture. One writer asks why we should trust a literary culture that calls itself American but is so narrowly framed that it excludes vast chunks of American writing and culture. Of course, he also knocks Ozick’s denigration of the reviewer in comparison to the literary critic, which I appreciate.

  47. jmc
    May 16, 2007 @ 10:25:02

    The first letters are…not is.

    Sorry.

  48. Deborah Smith
    May 16, 2007 @ 10:57:53

    Rock on, Jane, and thanks for giving me a plug. Starting way back when as president of Georgia Romance Writers I’ve beat my tawdry genre fists on the AJC’s closed doors to no avail. Not only did Weaver and her predecessor refuse to cover romances, they wouldn’t touch *any* genre fiction, not even with the hook of local authors involved. It was always mind-boggling to me that a newspaper would ignore its readers’ most popular tastes. That attitude only exists in the papers’ glorified book pages, since music, theater, TV and movie critics routinely cover all sorts of genre entertainment. I’m glad Weaver and her fellow book editors no longer wield their smug and exclusive power in the media, and I thnk the book world is a better place now that lovely sites such as Dear Author treat readers — all readers — with respect.

  49. Eve Silver/Eve Kenin
    May 16, 2007 @ 13:44:51

    Literary bias is alive and well. In my newbie wide-eyed-ness I approached the local papers when my debut novel was released. Their response was polite and clearly baffled. They don't review romance, and the implied query was: “why on earth did you imagine we would?â€?

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