Beyond Reviews

June 22nd, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Book reviews are weird. We only have to look at the weekly review section in The Los Angeles Times to know this (yes, we are talking about the fact that they simply cannot review any of the books that appear on their bestseller lists…it’s like an allergy or something). And readers we know tend to skim reviews, looking for those bits and pieces that say “you want to read this book.” Authors, of course, obsess over everything down to the punctuation, seeking deeper meaning from the printed word. Of course, reviews being reviews, quite often, what you read is what you get.

All of this is our way of saying we don’t get the scandal that is Dale Peck. The only thing distinguishing him from any other opinionated reader is the fact he types up and publishes his opinions. Yet, in another one of our extremely unscientific polls, we find his influence to be, well, not very far-reaching. So we smiled at Margo Hammond’s characterization of Peck’s reviews as hypercritical (just as we roll our eyes at those who complain that Harriet Klausner likes everything she reads). But, truthfully, Peck’s attention-getting style didn’t interest us as much as his comments on the state of publishing today. We were especially intrigued by his thoughts on excessive branding of children’s books. We suppose we live in a past where kids didn’t require toys and games to accompany The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs