Library Journal is an odd beast. What is it? Is it a professional journal? A mouthpiece for the publishing industry? A source for quality book reviews? I'm continually confused by what it thinks is news (the merger of huge technology companies shows up alongside minor legislation from a tiny town in Alabama). However, there is one thing to be said for it. If you get a review published in LJ, it's probably going to be a positive one. Even when they slam a book, they still recommend it for purchase (hence why I think the publishing industry may be paying some reviewers under the table).
Take this review snippet I read today: "Unfortunately, what lies between the covers is epic only in its absolute failure as a novel of substance and entertainment. The writing is clumsy and derivative, riddled with cliches and plot holes so large one doesn't care whether the family's secrets are revealed at all. And when they are, it is a huge disappointment." Our reviewer closes out his panning with "Recommended for larger public libraries and academic libraries only."
I wonder if this is a strange realization of the ingrained librarian ethic that we no longer are responsible for passing "quality" literature onto our patrons. But surely there's a difference between "quality" and "functioning", non?
The second one here isn't a review so much as a blurb. It comes from Tidal Wave Books, a self-publishing venture based out of Utah somewheres (I assume Utah County, which will be clear in a second). This book, Capitan of My Soul is about a personal transitioning out of homosexuality. I'm weirded out by the ex-gay movement, mostly because nearly all of its proponents seem to be from a different sphere of existence than the one I'm used to. Here's the blurb:
A young LDS man’s true story of being stereotyped and abused by peers as a child, lured into same gender internet pornography during his high school years, and recruited into cursory homosexual experimentation with older men while at Brigham Young University. Shows the undeniable link between internet porn, chat rooms, sex addiction, and homosexuality and the deceitful and predatory nature of the “gay” lifestyle. The story ends happily with his subsequent deliverance and healing through family support, expert professional counseling, truth, and repentance through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
"lured"? "recruited"? "undeniable"? I feel like there are some assumptions here that need looking into. It makes me even angrier because the first book on this topic, written by the mother of this boy, talks about how he was cured in something ridiculous like 12 therapy sessions. I'm pretty sure that sexual addiction takes a bit longer than that. Also, from a Mormon perspective, isn't it weird to lay so much blame on others for our own sins?
The fact that I get paid to read reviews, though, is still pretty sweet.