Dear newspapers

Apparently you find it difficult to review anything that is not mainstream “literary” fiction. To help you, I have created a few guidelines. Please keep them in mind the next time you attempt to review YA, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, etc.

1. Sit the potential reviewer down in your office. Ask them if they have any undisclosed prejudices or biases against the genre they are going to be writing about. If they do, ask them to leave and call in the next person.

2. Ask about their least/most favorite book or author in the genre. If they are unable to produce one, or if Tolkien is in the first category, they’re not the right reviewer for the job.

3. Ask them to name three authors currently writing in the genre. If they cannot, or if they finish by saying, “AND I HATE ALL THREE”…just don’t do it.

4. If none of your staff fit these criteria, fire them and hire new ones. Or–heaven forbid–you could actually ask someone who is known to read, review, or even write books in the area you want to cover. There are these people called bloggers, and though they might sound scary, they’re actually quite willing to help if you show them a little respect.

Also, kindly stop with the ridiculous lumping of all books in a genre into one caricatured package. It does you no good and only makes you look like you didn’t do your homework.


Filed under bookish posts

2 responses to “Dear newspapers

  1. R

    I take it this is in response to the unfortunate article about YA fiction in the Wall Street Journal?
    Not to offend any, but I feel that they rather missed the point. I read YA, but I never feel I’m being crowded out of the genre by those “dark books” they talk about. I don’t happen to feel a need to read those books either – but far be it from me to stop others from doing so. I don’t know another person’s heart, and another person may need to read these books – and if so, they ought to be able to do so without criticsm from major newspapers.
    Also, I doubt that the columnist has ever read The Hunger Games… true, it’s “hyper-violent” IN SOME PARTS, but overall is about as anti-violence as a book gets.
    In short… I feel that the point of the columnist (YA fiction is dark these days) could have been made in a much more sensible way.

    • Maureen E

      It had been building up for awhile, but the WSJ article was the final straw. I absolutely agree with your comment–I tend to read fantasy and not venture very far into the contemporary realistic realm (with the exception of Melina Marchetta, who I love forever and ever), but I’m just astounded that someone could claim to know that ALL teens EVERYWHERE would be hurt by a book. Sure, it might hurt some people, but for others it might be incredibly healing. And I’ve read books that I wish I hadn’t. That doesn’t mean I think that they should be burned or banned or that no one else should ever read them.

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