I don’t have anything particularly profound to add to the discussion of Checkpoint, NYTBR under Tanenhaus, and Leon Wieseltier’s review, etc (see here for some links). But I do want to point out that the resulting discussion shows literary blogs at their best: reacting, thinking, offering perspective, debating, criticizing, and adding personality. This type of extended conversation is what the nimble format of blogs allow, a sort of freewheeling debate and discussion that is emotional and intellectual, reactive and creative, personal and professional, and interesting and educational. This type of thing helps you to learn about fellow bloggers, the subject at hand, and about your own feelings and ideas by comparing and contrasting them as you go along. Throw in the satire and you have educational entertainment as horrible as that may sound.
Another issue brought this further to light. This post over at Return of the Reluctant is aother great example of the possibility of blogs. Once again you have intelligent people discussing books in a passionate and informed way. Their personalities and ideas come through and both those reading and those participating know more about each other and themselves when all is said and done. This kind of casual back and forth is rarely seen outside of blogs. Blogs allow for an informality that helps people feel comfortable throwing out ideas and perceptions without fearing that they will be taken as academic assertions of fact and attacked as such. Rather it fosters an exchange between people with the same goal. Oh sure there are trolls everywhere, but for the most part there is a remarkable amount of respect. As long as people feel you care about the written word, they seem willing to listen.
Anyway, I just thought I would point these moments out as a value added product that blogs are producing free of charge. Thanks everybody and keep up the good work!