Monday, July 11, 2005

Amazon Reviews Unmasked

It appears that nowadays Amazon is holding more of its individual book reviewers accountable by posting more identities -- and far less reviews from: A Reader In (fill in the blank city name here). And I'll agree wholeheartedly, that with some of the reviews as scathing, or, as glowing as they can sometimes be, it's only fitting for some sort of personage to be offered to support them. (You the spirit of "fair play" and all?)

I recall an article at Poynter Online last year by my two beloved "Book Babes," freelance journalist, Ellen E. Heltzel and regular contributor, Margo Hammond. In it, Margo notes:

My objection to anonymity on the Internet, by the way, does not mean that I oppose letting anyone have their say about a book. In fact, I like the democratization of Internet reviewing, which often challenges the so-called "professional" critics to hone their acts. I just want to know who it is serving up the criticism or praise and from where that opinion is coming. Then I can decide for myself if the point of view is useful to me or not...
*Read the entire article here

No doubt, from authors giving themselves praise (undercover), to that reader in St. Louis or Baltimore who plunked down $15 at Barnes and Noble thinking the book jacket synopsis would indeed live up to his or her expectations (only to be gravely disappointed), to readers who read a book and truly loved what they read --standing behind what you say always adds that much more of a dimension of validity to what you happen to be saying. This being especially the case in those less-than-favorable reviews, that rag on and on for several paragraphs…only to be signed in the end by A Reader In...

So kudos to Amazon for the apparent change in this policy, and I do hope it continues.

And speaking of some good summer reading picks:

1. Eleven On Top
Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's)

2. The Historian
Elizabeth Ksotova (Little, Brown)

3. The Mermaid Chair
Sue Monk Kidd (Viking)

4. A Long Way Down
Nick Hornby (Riverhead)

5. True Believer
Nicholas Sparks (Warner)

6. 4th Of July
James Petterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown)

7. Cross Bones
Kathy Reichs (Scribner)

8. Miracle
Danielle Steel (Delacorte)

9. The Traveler
John Twelve Hawks (Doubleday)

10. Cover The Butter
Carrie Kabak (Dutton)

A hot one is on tap for NYC today ( Temps averaging 92 degrees F -- Oh, joy!…not) Keep cool wherever you might be, and make it a good Monday. Peace.

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