Blogging always takes more time than it should but I want to get this stuff up here before I forget.
First is The Puffies, annual awards to overblown book blurbs. Entertaining and a little disturbing.
Then there’s an article by Steve Almond on the Harold Bloom dumbing of American readers editorial in response to Stephen King winning a National Book award. The key point he (Almond) brings up which I like is:
“Indeed, Bloom’s rage seems entirely misplaced to me. Rather than attacking writers, or those who bestow accolades onto them, he should be excoriating the true opponents of creative enlightenment. A short list would include: the deification of consumerism, the decline in funding for public education, the economic inequality that has become the hallmark of late–model capitalism. This culture discourages creativity, and deep thought, because such actions are not profitable. The horrible fact that people turn to Stephen King rather than Saul Bellow is, in other words, symptomalogy. ”
“What that means is the major discounting efforts of these non–bookstore chains are not stimulating and growing the [book buying] market but simply shifting consumer dollars away from bookstores and other potential book sales. Consumers buying a mega–seller at a Walmart will not be discovering a book of promise, as such chains do not invest in authors and non–bestselling books. Bookstores do, and we are losing an opportunity to handsell other good books to these consumers who do not regularly visit and browse in a bookstore.”