December 7, 2012

30 Books in 30 Days: "What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante," by Manny Rayner

(CCLaP publishes mini-reviews of both books and movies on a regular basis, none lasting more than a few hundred words. A full list of CCLaP's book-based mini-reviews can be found on its main book page, and movies on the main movie page.)

What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante, by Manny Rayner

What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante, And Other Futile Speculations
Manny Rayner
Self-published

My fellow CCLaP book reviewer Karl Wolff and I were having a discussion just the other day about the following subject -- that given what a wealth of original critical writing is being generated on a daily basis these days from pro-am critics at places like Amazon, Shelfari, LibraryThing, Netflix and IMDB, it's perplexing that more people aren't collecting up their essays in smart ways and releasing them as books, and trying to monetize a little all that effort they put into their online reviews throughout the year, in a way that's a lot more satisfying than simply rattling a virtual tip jar at every opportunity. Take for example ultra-popular Goodreads.com member Manny Rayner, who recently decided to do just that, gather up his hundred or so most popular write-ups based around such section topics as children's lit, foreign language, classics, experimental, etc., and release it as an ebook and print-on-demand paper volume at Amazon, since it costs literally no upfront money at all to do either. And the result is the delightful What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante, exactly what you expect it to be, a fun and smart callback to the days in the '70s when Pauline Kael and Fran Liebowitz were cranking out full-length books of their erudite reviews once a year as well, nothing essential for one's library but a great little collection to own, especially (forgive me, Manny) as a particularly well-timed bathroom book for hipster intellectuals. I think more online critics should be releasing books just like this one, so let Rayner's success be an object lesson for you all, that there are ways to potentially make a few hundred dollars a year from something you're doing for free already, without having to constantly beg for donations.

Out of 10: 9.0

Filed by Jason Pettus at 11:10 AM, December 7, 2012. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Nonfiction | Reviews |