In the realm of book blogs, it seems that there are few topics more incendiary than questions about the talents of Stephenie Meyer, author of the wildly popular "Twilight" vampire series. (And "wild" may be the operative word here.)
Dave Rosenthal of the Baltimore Sun wrote in Sunday's paper about the reaction to a blog he posted in which he quoted author Stephen King's comments about Meyer. In an interview with USA Today, King said that, "[J.K.] Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good." (As Rosenthal points out, King also had some negative comments about James Patterson and Dean Koontz but "no one seemed to notice.")
King's comments about Meyer, however, quoted in Rosenthal's blog, apparently "unleash[ed] a torrent of fury."
More than 125 readers responded, said Rosenthal, adding that, "You'd have to read the uncensored versions to understand the vitriol aimed at the two authors - the comments make Obama- and Bush-bashing seem tepid."
It's nice to know that we live in an age in which questions about the relative merits of books can still inspire a rousing debate. Too bad, however, that it should be conducted at a level that, according to Rosenthal, involved "the rudest language and ... profanity-laden comments."
Maybe the best advice comes from Kurt Vonnegut, whom Rosenthal quotes at the end of his piece: "Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae."