Following his piece on the policy at the Los Angeles Review of Books not to review first books negatively, D.G. Myers, Mark Athitakis, Joyce Carol Oates, Chris Bea, and Rohan Maitzen discussed negative reviews on Twitter yesterday—whether or not critics should write them and why. Here are some of the more interesting tweets:
D G Myers (@dg_myers): My typical reason for ignoring a book after investing the time to read it is that I have nothing to say about it; not that it’s bad.
Christopher Beha (@chrisbeha): The other problem @dg_myers mentions is that ignoring the bad and praising the good creates false picture of the whole.
Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates): Thousands of titles are published yearly. No one has a “sense of the whole.” And there is no “news”
Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates): An ideal review should present the book, with appropriate quotations, & a minimum of “opinion,” so that the reader can judge for himself.
D G Myers (@dg_myers): Ain’t a review but a report. MT @JoyceCarolOates: Ideal review presents book, with quotes, & minimum of “opinion.” Reader judges for self.
D G Myers (@dg_myers): Reading and writing require the truth; the rest is publishing. Paul J. Strassfield on false positives in reviewing: http://is.gd/djAiEm
D G Myers (@dg_myers): There are many reasons for a bad review, but only a bad critic delivers a review that is only bad.
Mark Athitakis (@mathitak): Easy fix: Every review section opens with bold type: “REMINDER: MOST BOOKS ARE GODAWFUL.”