Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Savoring the ripeness of their own solemnity"

It seems everyone (at least everyone with a books blog) has an opinion about the New York Times Book Review poll of critics and authors to name the "single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years."

Laura Miller, Salon's book critic, shares her view--dismissive--in a way that makes me more sympathetic to the Times' project than I was before reading her. I generally like Miller's writing and, even here, she's worth reading.

"People who talk about this sort of thing are always less interested in actually understanding and appreciating works of art than they are in savoring the ripeness of their own solemnity," she writes.

Hmmm.... At least the critics and writers who participated in the Times' survey contributed to a conversation that inspired some of us to consider a novel or two we had not read. At least some of us who had a few nits to pick with the Times' project tried to help readers in our own little way.

And Miller? Not so much...beyond savoring the ripeness of her own solemnity.

--Marshal Zeringue