canada sucks too


I am writing these words on January 1, 2010, almost exactly twenty-three years after I first came to Toronto. The Toronto Star’s book section is small, ineptly edited, and not worth reading. (And when I say ineptly edited, I mean that the current book editor, in allowing personal attacks and collegiate vitriol to stand as “book reviews,” has directly contributed to the irrelevance of the two measly pages the Star now puts out, dutifully, Sunday after Sunday.) The Globe and Mail’s book section has been reduced from a stand-alone magazine to a handful of pages in the Focus section. As a contributing Globe reviewer, I have found the slow deterioration of the paper’s book coverage even more painful to witness than the Star’s. It is the last remaining book section worthy of the name, I suppose, but it’s a shadow of its former self. Its editor, Martin Levin, still manages to dig up capable reviewers now and then, but one wonders if the newspaper itself really cares, since it has decided to pander to popular taste (or, more accurately, the decline in popular taste) by shortening the reviews and including more breezy interviews with “interesting” authors. Neither the Sun nor the National Post has book sections worth mentioning. And one also wonders: is it to some feeling of guilt that we owe such book sections as remain in our newspapers, like vestigial limbs?

more from André Alexis at The Walrus here.