Really interesting column in the Washington Post Book Review today by author Chris Bohjalian about reading online comments about his books. I've never read any of his work – Midwives, The Double Bind, etc. - but I've always followed his career. Many many years ago I worked with his brother at an ad agency in NY and I guess I've taken an interest in him in part due to that. He's very successful – his books have been Oprah picks and made into movies.
In the article, Bohjalian talks about the pitfalls of reading user reviews on Amazon and that the intimacy that Web 2.0 affords between writer and reader can be a double-edged sword. As a hobby book blogger, I read this column with great interest. I am aware that my words are ofen read by the authors I am discussing (several of them have emailed me after reading what I wrote), and I can't deny that this does in some way temper what I write. I might hold back a little on a negative review or even on gently criticizing a book I otherwise liked because I am worried about offending the author. It was interesting to read about it from the author's perspective.
Here's a short bio of Bohjalian that ran alongside the column.