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Friday, February 23, 2007

Recognizing book creators

During the NEA Journalism Institute I attended, one of the things that we often heard is that a theater review doesn't have to be completist. There's no need to mention every single actor, technician, and administrator involved in bringing a play to stage.

It's a necessary statement because theater critics often feel obligated to mention every performer and performers often feel that if they weren't mentioned, it was because the reviewer hated them.

It got me thinking about book reviews, in part because book reviewers never have that issue. In fac, we're almost on the opposite end of the spectrum. Rare is the review that mentions anyone other than the author. Occasionally an illustrator will get a nod, but (excepting the recent O.J. flap) you'll never read the name of an editor and rarely that of the publisher, marketer, printer, or anyone else that helps to create a book.

Nor, for that matter, do many book reviewers ever feel the need to list all the characters in a book. It would be considered absurd most of the time.

Perhaps it is just that editors, publishers, printers, publicists, etc. have been trained to not expect recognition.

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