Every few months an article comes along about book blogs: about the influence blogs and bloggers can exert over internet-addicted book lovers, about the ways in which book blogs can’t meet up to the standards of ever-dwindling newspaper books pages, about the relationships between bloggers and authors and publishers. Attempts to fit book blogs into some standard narrative of bookish publicity never works, though, because book blogs are so different from (so much better than, I’d say) “traditional” venues for book publicity.
More often than there are articles and attempts to somehow chart book blogs, what they mean and what they’ll be for readers in the future, there are articles about the decline of reading: men don’t read, children don’t read, no one reads “good” books, ebooks are destroying books as we know and love them.
What book blogs show, in this age of cancelled book review sections in newspaper after newspaper, is that people do read, and that readers are increasingly passionate about sharing their reading with others. Sure, there are book clubs and there are literature courses, but only the luckiest reader has a group of friends he or she can discuss literature with on a regular basis. Book blogs, though, give a voice to the reader who before responded to books more privately, giving your average reader of literary fiction or science fiction the chance to expound on the qualities of a novel, how it fits into genre conventions or the conventions of their own reading habits (if not both).
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