Jul 07

7 July 2009 – Which? What? Who?

Despite my promise last week to get my act together, I am once again a day late with this week’s Which? What? Who? In my defence, I haven’t had much time to surf the ‘net over the past week, so I don’t really have all that much to share.

With that enticing introduction (I know, you just can’t wait to find out what my 10 minutes of trawling the blogs has turned up), here are the things that have caught my eye this week.

Book and Writing Discussions
Meredith actually found this link for the 2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners. Entries are in the form of “bad opening sentences to imaginary novels”. This parody competition celebrates the memory of the Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, the originator of the infamous opening line “it was a dark and stormy night”.

My favourite from the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions is the following by Eric Rice of Sun Prairie, WI, the winner of the Detective Story category:

She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida – the pink ones, not the white ones – except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn’t wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren’t.

Another topic that caught my attention last week was the discussion of whether it is appropriate for author’s to critique reviews of their work, especially when this involves personal attacks on the ability and/or personality of the reviewer. Trish at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? posted an interesting article titled How Should an Author Respond to Negative Reviews? which contains details of both Alice Hoffman and Alain de Botton’s responses to negative or lukewarm reviews of their work.

Adele at Persnickety Snark also came under fire for her review of Aprilynne Pike’s Wings. The personal comments have now been removed, but this was a very interesting discussion about the freedom a reviewer should have to express whether they did or did not enjoy a particular book. I thought Adele handled the criticism offered with grace and some very well expressed responses in the comment thread.

Book reviews, even lofty literary critiques, are generally coloured with the opinions of the reviewer. Our response to what we read is influenced by our own personality, likes and dislikes and personal experiences. Reviews are subjective and I find it incredible that anyone could launch a personal attack on a reviewer who simply states what they did and didn’t appreciate about a particular book.

Favourite book blogs this week
As mentioned, I didn’t spend a lot of time visiting blogs last week. Here are a few blogs I have scanned this week, although I didn’t stop to comment.

The Story Siren
Persnickety Snark
Chasing Ray

The Book Chook

Next week I will be organised, up-to-date, informative and entertaining. I promise!

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