Monday, September 06, 2010

Reviews and Unseemly Praise

“Books are described as being ‘compulsively readable’ when they are merely ‘OK’; ‘jaw-droppingly good’ when they are actually ‘not bad’; ‘impossible to put down’ when they are really ‘no worse than the last three’. The same authors who mope and whine about a negative comment here and there are only too glad to accept praise that is not warranted, kudos they do not deserve. But how often does an author ever come out and admit that the praise showered on his book was excessive, inappropriate, ill-considered, unseemly or flat-out wrong? That’s the sort of thing that takes real moral fiber, real guts.”

(Joe Queenan in the New York Times 2008, quoted by Dennis O’Driscoll in The Dark Horse, issue 25)

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