Why Bookbread doesn’t read or write book reviews (via Man of La Book)

Just a few excerpts:

Creative blogger iubookgril (Girl Reads a Book, @bellareads) chimed in as well: “15 to 20 mins usually”, while our resident librarian blogger Mieneke(A Fantastical Librarian, @Pallekenl) takes a bit longer: “About three hours? But I’m a slow writer!”.

Inexhaustible blogger iubookgirl (Reader for Life, @iubookgril) also joined the coversation by tweeting: “same here, unless I don’t really like or dislike a book then it might take a little longer to decide what to say”.

Twitter Survey Results: How Long Do You Spend Writing Book Reviews.

But why stop now?

How can we further encourage the bar for book reviewing (particularly its online varieties) to be lowered into oblivion?

The American reader-reviewer can only answer: “What Papa Quality don’t know tonight won’t hurt Momma Quantity in the morning. Now go fix me a Pop Tart while I skim, scan, and scour through the entirety of Proust.”

Talking to Clerks instead of Reading Books?

Bookbread doesn’t usually come across anything sans sensible by Chad W. Post at Three Percent, but this line leaves me slack-jawed:

[Here] in Rochester, we don’t have a single indie—just a few B&Ns and Borders. Which is fine, fine, they carry a lot of books, host readings, etc., etc., but these stores aren’t necessarily set-up to foster discussions between clerk and customer.

Generally, every night before bed, Bookbread prays to Satan Almighty asking for protection from random book discussions with clerks who work in bookstores. After all, what could a clerk possibly tell me about a book, or subject, that I couldn’t already have looked up on the online Dictionary of Literary Biography, JSTOR, Google Books, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, Amazon reviews, dozens of RSS feeds (including Three Percents), or the recommendations from the books I’ve already read, recommendations that probably germinated my interest for the book-at-hand that I’m about to purchase?

Does Bookbread really need to intellectually interact with some jerk-off just because he/she works in a bookstore? Some folks may go to church just for mass—and that’s fine—but don’t expect Bookbread to stroll through stacks and shelves for the sole purpose of seeking out communion with other bibliophiles. If I really wanted to talk to others about books, Bookbread would just blog.

Reading at the Speed of Print (Three Percent)

People can read traditional printed books a good bit faster than eBooks on tablet computers, a new study has found.

The study tested peoples’ pace of reading on two popular e-reader tablets – Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle 2 – as well as a standard PC monitor and a plain ol’ regular book.

Three Percent: Reading at the Speed of Print.

One Possible Cause of Readicide…. (The Nation)

John Palattella of The Nation writes:

The book beat has been gutted primarily by cultural forces, not economic ones, and the most implacable of those forces lies within rather than outside the newsroom. It is not iPads or the Internet but the anti-intellectual ethos of newspapers themselves….

Carlin Romano, then the books critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was scolded by an editor for running as the cover story of his section a review of a new translation of Tirant Lo Blanc, a Catalan epic beloved by Cervantes. “Have you gone crazy?” the editor asked. “Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Americas newspapers in the 1990s,” Romano reflected, “is their hostility to reading in all forms.”

via The Death and Life of the Book Review | The Nation.

The Book Blogger’s Scepter of Censure

“Censure is willingly indulged, because it always implies some superiority; men please themselves with imagining that they have made a deeper search, or wider survey than others, and detected faults and follies, which escape vulgar observation. And the pleasure of wantoning in common topics is so tempting to a writer, that he cannot easily resign it; a train of sentiments generally received enables him to shine without labour, and to conquer without a contest.”

—Samuel Johnson

“It is a truthful sublimity which elevates the mind, and flatters it into believing such sublimity to be its own offspring and production.”


Being new, this blog is still coming into its own with providing a suitable style and proper form. Bookbread strives to provide and participate in “elevated conversations”: elevated in Longinus’ sense of the sublime—and conversations that concern books, literature, and language. But when online in the twenty-first century, the temptation is exponentially greater to “willingly indulge” in criticism on the views of others, or “censure” whatever one happens to come across while reading/browsing.

It can certainly be confessed that Bookbread still experiences moments of pleasure when imagining that [Bookbread has] made a deeper search, or wider survey than others, and detected faults and follies, which escape vulgar observation. Such pleasures are reserved for those who bear the scepter of censure.  Those bearers are called book bloggers.

Johnson, Samuel. The Rambler 02. March 26, 1750. (¶ 2).

Longinus, Dionysius. An Essay on the Sublime. (~100 C.E.). trans. by Herbert A. Giles. (1870). J. Cornish & Sons, London. (§ VII, pp. 17–18).