[Milton-L] soliciting of reviews

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Fri Dec 12 00:47:34 EST 2008


Right -- I agree with Peter.  I would add that I think a book's failure can
be instructive and a critical review is a way of gaining instruction from
it.  Those books are still worth reading and reviewing because they fail to
accomplish something positive which they set out to do, but at least they
set out to do something worthwhile.  The awful book Peter describes below
did not attempt to accomplish anything.  There is no instruction to be
gained from pointing out the obvious about a complete, self-evident
failure.

Jim R

On Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 11:43 PM, Peter C. Herman <herman2 at mail.sdsu.edu>wrote:

> A confession: I declined to write a bad review of a book of essays so
> abysmal that I initially thought the volume must be a parody. The "editor,"
> for example, according to the index, quoted himself no fewer than 130 times,
> and one essay, after announcing that the authors had nothing to say about
> the text in question, rewrote it as if it were written by [____________] (to
> identify it further would potentially reveal the identity). But while I
> thought long and hard about spending 700 words describing the brainrot of
> this book, and wondering in print just how it was that a reputable press
> could publish such trash, I decided against it because, in my experience,
> such a poisonous review, no matter how justified, always seems to redound
> against the credibility of the reviewer. This is not to say that I have not
> written negative reviews. I have. When I think there is shoddy scholarship,
> I can and will say so. But there are some books that are so preposterously
> awful that passing them over in (embarrassed) silence is the best policy.
>
> pch
>
>
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