Friday, September 7, 2007

Reviews: The Book as Commodity

Here's a question I would like to see spread around and broadly considered.

Is it possible to write a book review in any commercial venue that is not, by intention or otherwise, a review of the book as a commodity?

Because "reviews" are, whether published in the usual commercial settings--newspapers, magazines--or on blogs, web sites--other supposedly, "non-commercial" venues--catalogs of their desirability for readers...and so, for buyers of books--is it possible to write a "revue" at all, that is not essentially, no matter the intent of the reviewer, a review of a commodity?

It may be, and this is my current opinion... that the very form is inescapably corrupted. That is, if the first assumption on writing a review, is not that it is, in fact, inescapable (that a review is always going to be, primarily, a review, not of a work of literature, whatever that means, but of a commodity), than the answer to the question is, no.

Accepting that assumption--or should I say, recognizing that reality? How then does one go about writing a review, that is a review of the work itself... and not of the "book" as a commodity?

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