Monday, May 16, 2005

RSB is France, I'm Germany: on the LitBlog Co-Op

The Lit Blog Co-Op (LBC) unites "the leading literary weblogs for the purpose of drawing attention to the best of contemporary fiction, authors and presses that are struggling to be noticed in a flooded marketplace."

So now the literary blogosphere is like the World Series and the United Nations.

Yesterday, many of us were perplexed by the LBC’s landmark first Read This! nomination because it signally failed to meet the one criterion that is empirically demonstrable. In addition to its own, The Complete Review lists fifteen reviews of the nominated novel in major publications. It is ironic that this abandoned criterion is why those of us excluded from membership of the LBC by geography were keen to give the LBC a warm welcome.

In defence of the choice, the LBC’s impresario TEV dismisses criticism by qualifying the criterion with another unprovable one. Apparently enviable amounts of press attention does not equal a readership. One can only wonder why.

In an off-hand expression revealing a distressing intolerance, TEV adds that if the project had "picked some obscure, experimental novel" it would have been "pilloried for being pedantic and elitist". We will never know what this obscure, experimental novel is, nor who would do the pillorying or why it would matter. Perhaps it only exists in manuscript, struggling to be noticed by those too busy pillorying?

But all novels are obscure and experimental. All novels are sui generis. Or should be. The rest is just the bland fodder of the Reading Group and the marketplace.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:50 pm

    Damn straight. The book appears to have been chosen with the intention of garnering more traditional press for the LitBlog Coop by selecting an accessible book easily mentioned and summarized in Reuters notices.



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