Sound Reasoning

Laura Miller explains why she didn’t vote in the NYT "Most Distinguished Novel" survey:

My point in objecting was not just some namby-pamby reluctance to make any relative evaluation about literature, because that really is an important thing that critics do: declare that some books are better than others. I have no problem doing that, but I hate imposing a rigidly, atomistic structure on it. Ultimately, novels are so diverse that once they attain a certain level of quality, they really can’t be meaningfully ranked against each other. Some people I discussed this with had a hard time understanding that not wanting to exert an excess of judgment isn’t the same thing as refusing to make any judgment at all. I don’t know why this is so difficult to grasp; it’s like the difference between being decently neat and having obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Well, yes. There’s more.

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