Several writers started as book reviewers, one reason we need to encourage book reviews. Who knows—I may be the next Toni Morrison...
For younger writers today, book reviewing for newspapers remains an important way to try your wings as a cultural critic. You learn what your own voice is by the discipline of judging other voices. And you enrich the community of readers by doing so with the guidance of a good editor and enough space to have your say. Personal blogs, unedited Wikipedia entries and MySpace pages are no substitute!
Just one point of disagreement. A good review on a blog is as likely, if not more, to be peer-reviewed as a newspaper one. We bloggers are not easily pleased, Mr. Hochschild!
Read Mr. Hochschild's views.