Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Great and the Weird

Great news: the nominees for a brand new award in non-fiction were announced, and my friend Tanya Lee Stone's book, the fabulous Almost Astronauts is on the short list! If you're in the mood for some girl power, you should check it out.

Weird news: Kirkus Reviews magazine is kaput. Dead. Done. Out of print. If you're not a book person, this won't mean that much to you. If you are a book person, well, it might not mean that much to you, either. Kirkus is -- er, was -- a review source for librarians, a source best known for its huge number of reviews and its overabundance of snark. I don't know how I feel about its demise. Yeah, yeah, I know I just blogged a few weeks ago about how writers should avoid looking for reviews, that they're for readers not writers, yadda yadda. But even if I think it's problematic for writers to read their own reviews, it is important that they actually get some reviews. And this means that there is one less source for reviews in the world. Also, because the publication was meant for readers -- librarians specifically -- but also for consumers, as the reviews are posted at various book websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., this means that there's one less source for individual readers to rely on when they want to choose a book.

So...I don't know. I've gotten some great reviews from Kirkus's stable of anonymous snarksters, and some not-so-great ones, but that's not the point. I like what Alex Flinn said about it:"The end of Kirkus is like the death of an ex-boyfriend who was kind of a jerk, but with whom one has a few fun memories. Like, I'm glad I didn't marry the guy, but that doesn't mean I wish him dead...For all their flaws, Kirkus did review a lot of books, and in a competitive market, even a bad review is better than silence."


-- L.

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