The sad truth about the book world is that it doesn’t need more yes-saying novelists and certainly no more yes-saying critics. We are drowning in them. What we need more of, now that newspaper book sections are shrinking and vanishing like glaciers, are excellent and authoritative and punishing critics — perceptive enough to single out the voices that matter for legitimate praise, abusive enough to remind us that not everyone gets, or deserves, a gold star.
Most of the blogging I've seen about books reminds me all too much of the shallow "Sixty Second Preview" blurb-shilling that's been happening in the movie-criticism industry for a long time now, except that a depressing number of the bloggers in question seem to honestly think they're contributing something of value to a conversation about a given work. "I liked it" is not a form of criticism. "I liked it and here's why" is a little closer to the truth, but few people seem honest enough about their tastes (or perceptive) to speak with authority or insight about why something worked for them or didn't.