Yesterday's ritual stoning has brought up a host of discussable topics--netiquette, ethical reviewing, awards, Edward Tulane, the relationship between an author and his or her book--but where to start?
I do have to laugh when I think about the editorial I just turned in, in which I applaud the relative lack of rancor surrounding children's book awards compared to such prizes as the Pulitzer or Man Booker. But despite our kerfuffle here, I do think that while children's book award prizes inspire grumbling, there's not much in the way of scandal. (Of course, there was that author who told me about getting a midnight phone call from a "friend" on the Newbery Committee, telling said author that the medal was in the bag. It wasn't.) Most of us seem to take these things philosophically, as in, "it's not what I would have chosen, but they must have had their reasons," and then we move on.
As far as reviewing goes, I don't think it's that difficult for most reviewers to forget about Awful Author or Attractive Author when reviewing a book. More of problem is separating that book from the author's reputation and/or his or her previous books. You neither want to add to the legend nor go all iconoclastic on it, either--the book in front of you is the only that matters for the moment. I do remember one book, a Holocaust memoir, where the author blended false modesty and survivor's privilege in a way that made not reviewing her a real challenge. Jeez, now I sound like Ann Coulter.