One thing I’ve been thinking about with the death of book review sections and the superiority of book review sections in certain other countries is that it’s indicative of a larger cultural issue — that books and literature are increasingly being pushed to the sidelines and that the readers of them are becoming more and more niche-ified (much like the comic book medium has been in the past, though ironically comics are becoming more and more mainstream). Consider that the front page of Technorati has links for “music”,”movies” and “games” but not “books”. Similarly, Digg, under entertainment, lists “music”, “movies”, “television” and even “celebrity” and has a separate section entirely for gaming. But no books. At least the Spanish version of Digg, Meneame, has “literatura” under entertainment. But as we’ve explored, certain other countries have better literary cultures than we do.
At least metacritic has books up there with movies, TV and video games. But the whole thing is part of what makes me think from time to time that Wet Asphalt should start reviewing TV and film as well. I mean, I’m afraid of diluting what we’re trying to do on Wet Asphalt, which is to talk about and promote the kind of books we like, but because there are so many more people reading about TV and movies online maybe creating a real conversation between novels (and poetry) and those other media (a conversation notably lacking elsewhere) we can help bring the written word back into the realm of popular culture in the public imagination, where it belongs. Or at the very least promote the notion.
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