JOURNALIST Q&A: Jessa Crispin

Jessa Crispin, the woman behind Bookslut, a website dedicated to the many volumes that don't top the bestseller lists, is anything but easy in her estimation of the publishing industry and the reporters who cover it, as she shows in this interview with PRWeek.

Jessa Crispin, the woman behind Bookslut, a website dedicated to the many volumes that don't top the bestseller lists, is anything but easy in her estimation of the publishing industry and the reporters who cover it, as she shows in this interview with PRWeek.

PRWeek: Where does the rather provocative name Bookslut come from? Jessa Crispin: I'm not really sure. It was just a word that floated in my head a bit for a year before I founded the site. I hated the term "bookworm," with its nerdy connotations. I have more books than I will ever be able to read, yet I keep buying more. "Slut" seems to fit. I honestly didn't think of it as provocative until my father begged me to change the name so he could tell people about it. But now he writes for us, so I think I won. PRWeek: What's your take on the current state of journalism and the publishing industry? Crispin: I think it's controlled by people who don't like books very much. Or they're just incredibly lazy. Every publication just spits out cookie-cutter reviews of the same Random House novels. There are so few reviews of small-press books, of graphic novels, of books that are really fresh and interesting. Instead, it's just another article on the state of chick lit, another review of Lucky Girls. Newspapers and magazines fall over themselves to lay praise on the heads of authors like Jonathan Safran Foer instead of taking the time to realize it's a sloppy book. PRWeek: Also on your blog you mention not having read any of the fiction nominees for this year's National Book Award. What do you think of literary awards in general? Do they serve any function besides ego-tripping? Crispin: As long as you realize that literature awards have nothing to do with rewarding the best book of the year, they're OK. It's just like watching the Oscars. If you care about film or books, you watch these things knowing they're not going to go to the people who really deserve them. It's "The Best Film That Meets Our Small View of What's Acceptable" or "The Best Book That Is Neither Too Obscure Nor Too Popular and Will Never Offend Anyone." I used to get more worked up about some of the bad choices, but now I just shrug it off. Perhaps Bookslut should start its own awards. PRWeek: How do you steer clear of the buzz and find relatively obscure titles to review? Crispin: I just include books I'm interested in. I interview the authors I'm interested in. And I am the dictator of Bookslut. I can be strict about what gets in, what books are reviewed, who is interviewed. There's no sense in Bookslut covering an already-hyped-to-the-rafters book. I started Bookslut because I couldn't find coverage of the books that I read, and that is still why I do it. ----- Name Jessa Crispin Publication Bookslut.com Title Editor-in-chief Preferred contact method jessa@bookslut.com Website www.bookslut.com

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