Friday, September 04, 2009

Oh, Burn!

This Entertainment Weekly review of Catching Fire actually makes me want to read the book much more than all these starred ones.

Thanks to Susan at Chicken Spaghetti for letting me know about it.


Blogger Tricia said...

Liz B. had a very interesting take on the EW review. (She didn't like it!)

10:05 PM  
Blogger gail said...

The only reason I would ever argue with a review (of someone else's book, of course), would be if the reviewer appeared to lack knowledge of the field she was reviewing. It's not unusual to see reviews of YA or children's books written by people who exalt the book they're reviewing by bashing all other books in the field because they've read so few of the. They think they're reading something unique and ground breaking because they've read so little of the genre. I didn't feel that was the case with EW review. I felt she was really talking about the writing.

I think a dissenting review of a fanfave book like Catching Fire is refreshing and thought-provoking. It's important to understand that reviews are a form of critique, and they should not be all about loving the book under consideration.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree. The response to the EW seems like fangirling, really blatant, obvious, fangirling. OMG she's my favorite author! You can't say bad things about her! Which is fine. Yay fangirling. But these very same people are calling the --reviewer-- unprofessional and I find that disturbing. Okay, I also find it embarrassing. Some of these people represent themselves as professionals--they seem to want their blogs to be taken as professional work. And yet they are blatantly partisan -- and exerting pressure to make everybody's reviews the same. I see this as bad.

3:43 PM  
Blogger gail said...

We were talking about this at dinner tonight where something very similar was said.

There's no doubt, in my mind at least, that fandom has been wonderful for books. But I think an argument could be made that it gives a cold shoulder to open discussion of literature.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Tricia said...

Hi Gail,
Thanks for your very thoughtful response. I haven't read THE HUNGER GAMES, so I can't weigh in with any authority. I thought Liz's review was interesting in that she brought up errors, or areas where she felt the reviewer got the reading of the first book wrong. That made me sit up and take notice.

I do think the readers of the book and it's sequel have been fanatic in their response. Unfortunately, this is the kind of buzz that makes me not want to read a book. I'm not much for works of dystopian fiction anyway, so I probably won't pick it up, but the rabid response is a bit of a turn-off for me.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think Liz B. is picking nits. If the review had been positive, I don't think the reviewer would have been called out for her description of the details.

9:15 PM  
Blogger gail said...

I haven't read Catching Fire, but I have read The Hunger Games, and I thought the EW reviewer's take on that earlier book (a postive take, by the way) wasn't far off the mark. I do recall "murderous zombie werewolves," because I thought they were way over the top and unbelievable. They came in at the end. Okay, the "fabulous glitzy outfits" only appeared a few times.

Tricia--I know exactly what you mean about certain kinds of buzz killing interest in a book. I read a lot of stuff because I feel I should to keep up with what's being written in my field. But, yes, once it becomes clear that buzz is being generated because of some kind of lovefest, my expectations are definitely lowered. I've been disappointed way too many times.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Susan Thomsen said...

Gail, I haven't read either book, but both were front and center when I walked into a local Borders yesterday. Those two books, the new Doctorow, and something else were on the "can't miss/first thing in the store" display. Interesting, yes?

2:51 PM  
Blogger gail said...

Doesn't that mean that the publishers put up money for that placement? Putting their money on sure things?

6:51 PM  

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