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Should book critics read the whole book?

Inland_3 A few weeks ago, Roger Ebert of the Sun-Times wrote a review of a film called Tru Loved, which was apparently terrible, even worse than David Lynch's Inland Empire - which took God only knows how many years off my life, and I SLEPT through part of it. What the hell are these donkey headed things, anyway? GOD. Also I guarantee that Tru Loved wasn't 47 hours long nor did people start randomly speaking in Polish during it.

But I digress. Ebert confessed he'd only watched about eight minutes of the movie in his review and then fled the theater in sheer horror. Still, he went ahead and proceeded to trash it anyway, albeit with a disclaimer about what he'd done.

Ebert So I was happy to pile on in a collection of brief comments by all the Herald critics - for TV, movies, music, theater and of course books. Because I can't imagine reading 20 pages of a book and going ahead and trashing it. Could you be lazier? And of course you can only afford to be so cavalier if you're a bigwig like Roger Ebert, who has a large and respected body of work and is a pretty darned good critic overall. Anybody else gets canned or at least reprimanded. On a practical note: he gets a lot of space. What do you say if you've only seen eight minutes?

So yeah. Book critics should read the whole book. It's the least you can do to maintain credibility.


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