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52 weeks, 52 books

22 down, 30 to go

I’ve been reading this on and off for a while now, but as I’m putting it back on the shelf in a fit of tidying up, it can be blogged here. John Clute’s ‘Scores’.


There are, in the world, good reviewers, mediocre reviewers, bad reviewers, half-hearted reviewers. We can all think of examples of any of these. The newspaper TV reviewer who doesn’t bother watching the show, the music reviewer who mistakes parts 1, 2 and 3 of an extended song for the same song three times.

The better reviewers are those who understand what their job really is. And it’s not to tell us whether something is good or bad. We get to do that for ourselves. We all have opinions, and life experiences that can inform our viewing of a film, a TV show, reading a book, listening to music. A critic’s job is to illuminate something about the text they’re reviewing. To tell us, or rather show us something we’d not seen, some facet of the whole diamond that lets us see the text in a new, more informed light.

In Clute’s case, that job extends to teaching us new words too. And a Modernist outlook on the world.


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