What I Think I’m Doing
Posted by: Keir Graff
I’m glad that’s over with. But, as I said, my confessional-mode entry does pertain to the project at hand. I may have mentioned that this is going to be a blog about book reviewing. In the last year and a half, as we’ve developed Booklist Online, my idea of the blog was always that it would be a book reviewer’s journal, my candid thoughts about what I’m reading and what I’m writing about what I’m reading (I love that kind of sentence construction, don’t you?).
But the more I mulled it over, the more I realized what a tricky prospect that is. Publishing a book review, by default, places the reviewer in a position of authority. At the very least, it suggests that the reviewer is qualified to judge whether a book is good or bad. It may even suggest that the reviewer knows more than you. And that may not be true.
In fact, you may know more about an author, book, or genre than I do, you may be smarter than I am, and you may be more qualified to judge it than I am. However, it’s still my job to review it. (And as a rule, the less I think about my possible deficiencies as a reviewer, the easier it is to sleep at night.)
So my idea of writing a warts-and-all, behind-the-scenes, heavily-hyphenated reviewing journal began to seem fraught with peril. If I am completely honest, will I undermine the authority of my reviews-indeed, all of Booklist‘s reviews?
I don’t think so. Because as my story from yesterday makes clear, you don’t have any authority at all if you’re not honest.
(Whew-didn’t have to contrive that significance after all.)
So while I fully expect this to be a tricky balancing act, I think it’s probably going to work out all right. I’ll continue to be honest writing my reviews, and writing about my reviews, and I fully expect you’ll be honest in telling me it’s all a load of crap.
I mean, I fully expect you’ll be honest with me.