Who Has the “Authority” to Review Books?

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Kathleen Hale’s recent Guardian article has generated a lot of commentary, most of it judgments of whether or not Hale was right to take the actions she chronicles.  Somewhat overlooked in the general backlash, however, is a claim that a number of Guardian commenters (who seem to be neither bloggers nor people who utilize sites like Goodreads) are making: that in order to preserve the “integrity” of book reviews, only “qualified” people should be able to voice their opinions.  None of these commenters, as far as I can tell from browsing, gave a workable definition of what people have legitimate “literary authority” (beyond implying that professional reviewers who work for places like Kirkus and Publishers Weekly must).  If we work through the question, however, it becomes apparent that there really cannot be people who “can” judge books “correctly” and people who “cannot.”

Am I qualified to share my opinions on…

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Categories: Rants, Writerly Rants

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