Tuesday, April 05, 2005

List of List ad Infinitum

Top flight book reviewers at Amazon are almost cult figures. They can play havoc with book rankings, sale and arguably the writer's reputation. Their claim to fame being ability to provide intelligent and engaging commentary on another person's writing.

Do I have a problem with that ? Au contraire. I have a lot of respect for their erudition, their good taste and excellent judgment. I figure if you can pay for tea tasters and wine tasters for their services why not a book taster which is the role they play.

One of my favorite books in all time is John Updike's Hugging the Shore. Updike did not merely review, he created literature that may even outlive what spawned it. He opened whole new worlds of reading to generations of readers. He send us off on exciting adventures in reading which we would have not even known to undertake otherwise. I do not see that happening with the current culture that thrives on making list of list of list...

I used to be a movie buff once. These days I find myself catching an hour's worth of Yahoo Trailers on a free Sunday afternoon and feeling so satiated that I have no inclination to sit through even one whole movie. My excuse is that I don't have the time or the mental bandwidth to really take in a good movie. Other than that I consider my situation a telling symptom of list mania.

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