Staying Above the Fray (Sort of)

Despite my ongoing book reviewing work, my frequent reading of and appreciation for book reviews in print and online, and my work teaching Lesley University MFA candidates about the practice of book reviewing, I’ve chosen to keep this blog somewhat au-dessus de la mêlée as far as the National Book Critics Circle’s (NBCC) “Save the Book Review” campaign–and the flurry of press/postings it has engendered–may be concerned. That’s for many reasons.

But I have mentioned it to my book-reviewers-in-training, and I’ve posted about the issue elsewhere. (Please see my lengthy post in the comments section of Scott McLemee’s recent column on the subject, if you’re interested. It doesn’t cover all my concerns about that campaign, but it manages to deal with many of them.) And for a particularly thoughtful post reflecting on the campaign, check Dan Wickett’s blog.

Faithful blog readers may remember that I parted ways with the NBCC last fall. It wasn’t a happy situation. But I was reminded of the importance of my decision–and the difficulties one can face when speaking out against the misuse of (dues-charging) professional writers’ organizations for controversial political purposes–when I read this new (and excellent) piece, titled “On Reporting for Duty with Britain’s anti-Israel Mob,” by British journalist Nathan Jeffay. I hope you’ll read it, too.