Totally Hip Book Reviews!

Whoa, bookworms. Have you seen this? Ron Charles, fiction critic at The Washington Post, has transformed himself from stuffy, over-educated book critic (those are all stereotypes, I know nothing about the man) to the (drum roll, please) TOTALLY HIP BOOK REVIEWER.

And despite the fact that it's kind of strange, and completely unexpected, the commentary here is excellent. (Note: If viewing in a Reader, the embedded video does not appear to work. Click through to the post to watch the clip.)

In this particular clip, Charles goes off on book apps and their amazing potential. To his point, publishing has gone ga-ga for the potential of book-related apps, but realistically, what do they accomplish? The idea of a book is entertainment and education, most would say, but "enhanced e-books" can easily slip into "distraction from original content."

Other clips include Charles' picks for the top 10 books of 2010, a review of Moby Dick, and a recap of the 2010 Booker Prize winners (which also goes into several of the bookish technologies we bookworms devour alongside our pages of ink on paper).

Earlier this week, I featured an article from HuffPost in which major book critics discussed how to keep book reviews relevant. Ron Charles was the second critic quoted:
"I love the optimistic premise of this question! Book reviewers who hope to be relevant to a new generation of readers will have to: 1. Review books that young people want to read. This will require us to drop our "Eat your peas" attitude and stop concentrating on books about the morose musings of middle-age. 2. Publish reviews that are shorter, punchier, and less self-indulgent. Does that mean we have to dumb down review coverage? The opposite: We have to be smarter, sharper, wittier, and more efficient. 3. Put those reviews in places where young people are looking. Get over it: They don't subscribe to newspapers, and they're not going to. Aggregate book reviews with other entertainment news that young people are interested in and make those reviews accessible on mobile devices. Find ways to blend book reviews with social media that young people are using. None of this will work, of course, but it may keep us employed till we can all get jobs as SEO content managers." -Ron Charles
At least we can see that Charles is following his own advice. This is no "eat your peas" attitude, and his reviews are short, punchy, and available online, which, realistically, is where most young people turn for any kind of content these days. We'll just have to see if this kind of forward thinking can keep book critics employed.


  1. HA! I love it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love the quote from Charles. Good advice and nice to see he's following it.

  3. Ahaha too funny! Love those microwaveable pages . . .

  4. Brenna, Trish - Glad you enjoyed it!

    Red - It is nice to see him following through on his thoughts, isn't it?

  5. That was pretty delightful! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Just heard the Post is cancelling the Totally Hip Book Reviews. Say it ain't so!


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