the pedestrian three stars rating for this book.
it's rather confusing who this book is aimed to. not people who just started getting interested in reading novel, it's not really novel reading for dummies. perhaps for novel reader veteran who has already clocked hundreds of novel? just for them to have a bit a laugh down the memory lane? it did amuse me, though i wouldn't say that it helped me to finally navigate myself better in the middle of publishing onslaugh that we're living now. (which sutherland rather insinuate i'll be able to do after reading his book)
for one thing, sutherland likes to negate all his own advices. would you trust book reviewer? well, those people aren't so cool anyway. how about best seller list? it's good if you want to swim with million other people.
which actually lead me to the second point, do you need to read novel wisely? would it matter if during my whole lifetime i'd miss some unbelievable master piece of world literature? i doubt anyone will award me honorary distinction for a well read life. so i think my current combination of picking book blindly from whatever i have or library and spare-time review trolling is good enough for me.
in fact, the reason i read this book now is just because it's the only one that capture my attention long enough to finish reading it. i'm in the middle of this hateful phase where i can't settle down long enough to finish anything. i've started many books these few weeks just to throw it away again, interestingly, they're all non-fiction; i can't even start reading fiction. whatever causing this phase i hope it'd go away soon.
so it's worth reading, if only to have a smirk or two from his writing. some of his hints are helpful, like i can get background from publishing history (not that i'll start to google before reading all novel); but it's still useful.
some stuff i can do without: i wished he'd stop nagging at e-reading; the whole technology barrier he talked about has been more or less solved. the whole talk made the book feel really old and i wonder if he's actually jumped into the e-reading bandwagon now.
another theme he won't let go is the 2005 man booker prize winner The Sea from john banville. sutherland was one of the jury and i had this feeling he's taking out the past judging discussion and bringing it to the book. well, i like following man booker prize, i have better discoveries from it than from say, pulitzer. i haven't read the sea, but it's 2014 now, and reading him gnawing at this bone made me want to say, just let go...