Sunday, April 19, 2009

Random Thoughts: Where have all the book reviews gone?

I never thought I'd say this, but today, instead of reading my blog, I would rather you turn off the computer, put down the Blackberry or Sacred Useless-But-Entertaining Application Platform (otherwise known as the iPhone, the new techie drug of choice), perhaps even stop trying to get your Android phone to tell you which way is up (does not work when immersed in coffee), and go buy a book. Then read the thing. Talk about it. Discuss it with your friends over coffee, which is conveniently available in a lot of bookstores.

Still reading? First, thanks. Second, I don't blame you. I don't like people telling me what to do without explanations, either.

Sunday routines are sacred, even beyond the scope of worship services. Some people go to church, then go to brunch or lunch at their favorite place. Others take a walk, relax, pray or meditate at home, and then start to dread the return of Monday. Mine is to go to church Saturday evening so I can then sleep in on Sunday morning, cook brunch with Hubby -- with real bacon again! -- and enjoy the "lighter" parts of the paper such as the comics and the book reviews. So, I was horrified to open to the books section of the AJC, which is now thoroughly hidden in the middle of the glommed-together "Arts and Lifestyle" section, and see this:

They've replaced a whole quarter of the Books section with an advertisement!

Okay, now I'm pissed. First, the Books section was shrunk and stuck toward the end of the "Arts and Books" section, then it got harder to find, then the book reviews all came from other papers, and now they've completely cut one review as well as the fun "Book Clubs" section??? And, even worse, there aren't any fiction reviews outside of the brief blurbs in the paperbacks section.

I'm going to type this slowly for the people who are obviously running the decision-making process at the AJC now in language that their intellectually stunted minds can understand: Dude. Srsly. WTF???

There is one redeeming quality to this week's section. It looks like one reviewer is actually on staff at the AJC, and the other one wrote it "for" the Journal-Constitution, but she probably also wrote it "for" several other papers. Hey, at least there's contract work, right? That's what millions of Americans who have been laid off are saying these days, so it's quite reflective of the times.

Oh, and I tried to go online to the AJC's site to find book reviews. Let's just say they don't make it easy. At all. And people wonder why Southern accents are associated with lower intellectual abilities... Maybe they should ask the people who make the decisions about what gets shoved aside for advertising in the paper of this, the largest "true" Southern city (no, I don't count anywhere in Florida).

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the two I ordered from Amazon to come in tomorrow. I'll probably end up reading them rather than the paper.

Fellow bibliophiles, please email the AJC or AccessAtlanta people, or whoever is responsible, and let them know you're pissed off as well!

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