Many a critic has complained about critics – you know, the way we never write bad reviews except of books by people we loathe and fear. It’s mutually-assured destruction out there: you pan my book, I pan yours (hold fingers together and move hand back and forth). And, of course, we tend to review books and journals by people we like.
This all seems perfectly natural to me. I mean, what are ya, Alexander Pope or something? And then there’s Wilde’s dictum about not prejudicing oneself. (In How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, Pierre Bayard has an hilarious riff along these lines, vis-à-vis Paul Valéry – indeed, the whole book is hilarious – & also more serious than it sounds).
Anyway, how about this: how about instead of calling them “book reviews,” we call them “book descriptions.” I’m not talking Cliff Notes or Cartoon Classics here – no siree. But more detail than a mere blurb. I mean people who are good readers giving an overall impression of a book or journal that you’re probably not going to read anyway. Or – if it’s something that’s up your alley, maybe you will, if the description is detailed and vivid.
So, shazam – I just invented a new genre. Isn’t that wonderful? The world doesn’t have enough genres, does it? And we better make sure that no writing goes un-genred. You’re welcome!
Tomorrow: Joe describes journals that publish his stuff . . .
Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)
- PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
- PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
- DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
- TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
- CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
- BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
- KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.