Language is a shape-shifting thing. For some, it is purely the written word, and for others, it is movement, color, texture, light. In its art-themed Sunday Book Review, the New York Times explores how five artists react to five different books through visual compositions....more
Posts Tagged: book reviews
Fiction written under an authoritarian or totalitarian government often dares readers to view the work as a critique of that society.
In a review of two science fiction works by Cuban authors, Electric Literature takes a look at the surprising connection between oppressive political ideologies and fantastical worlds in fiction....more
Book reviews have grown nicer in recent years, with some publications eschewing negativity altogether. That wasn’t always the case. The earliest literary reviews were outright cruel, with publications trying to outdo their rivals. The Literary Review takes a look at the back-and-forth of the nasty book review culture of the nineteenth century....more
Wired is launching a book review section—of absurd self-published titles. Jason Kehe will in fact be judging books by their cover, selecting the books he reviews for the regular column by browsing the blog Kindle Cover Disasters. The first title in the series is Moira, The Zorzen War, The Divided Worlds Book 3:
If you’re confused, Moira probably is too.
Book reviewing is still a heavily debated topic within the literary world. This week, the New York Times’s Bookends column has James Parker and Anna Holmes answering the question, “Is book reviewing a public service or an art?”. Head to the Sunday Book Review page to find out what they both agreed on....more
The digital age threatens works of serious literary merit, warns British novelist Will Self:
Back when I began publishing novels, not only did the reviews in the quality press mean something – in terms of sales, yes, but also as a genuine assay of literary worth – but as a writer, you knew that there was a community of readers who paid attention to them.
Many authors’ stories blend together across a collection; they struggle to convey a unique voice in each piece. Not so with Jen Michalski’s From Here. Though her characters share common experiences—dashed hopes, disappointments, misunderstanding by loved ones—the voice in each story of From Here is fresh and specific....more
Good literature demands strong criticism, but today’s culture of niceness has limited critics. Lee Klein, writing in 3:AM Magazine, points out that writers’ interest in receiving positive feedback often leads them to forgo standards and slant reviews positively:
Literary citizenship is about buying books, subscribing to lit mags, going to readings.
Crown Publishing Group has been rolling out a marketing program hoping to leverage the power of social media. The program, Blogging for Books, offers free books to bloggers in exchange for book reviews. Ideal participants generate buzz by posting comments to social media and online bookstores, and including marketing materials like book trailers alongside their reviews....more
If you’re an author on Amazon, your days of posting book reviews may have come to an end.
Amazon’s new book review policy classifies Amazon authors as competitors, and competitors cannot review each others “products.” At Jacket Copy, Carolyn Kellogg asks, “Why is Amazon deleting writers’ reviews of other authors’ books?”
“That is hardly a rarity; most authors know other people who write books....more
Quoting writers from Alexander Pope to Jonathan Franzen, Hu argues that the apparently ever-progressing “death” of the book review is perhaps a more nuanced process than it first appears:
“Perhaps a large problem in the decline of good criticism is that readers no longer know how, or where, to find critics, and, more importantly, how to define what makes it Good.”
Hu’s essay is in some aspects a continuation of the narrative established in Elizabeth Gumport’s 2011 essay “Against Reviews” for N+1, an impassioned argument for a complete rethinking of the form and its uses....more
“Part epic, part bildungsroman, Peter Orner’s “Love and Shame and Love” is a refreshing departure from the shtetl nostalgia shtick that has come to typify contemporary American Jewish fiction....more
Book reviews sections in newspapers and magazines began shrinking a couple years ago, or being folded into other sections, even disappearing altogether.
In 2007, a band of culturally dedicated authors started the National Book Critics Circle’s Campaign to Save Book Reviewing and now “we remain a nation of passionate readers—even during a time when movies can be streamed on demand and countless distractions are built into every smartphone and tablet.” Nowadays, the number of books published per year is growing....more
Ever get sick of the stifling language that book reviewers use for their blurbs? There is indeed a “professional jargon” that is readily visible on the front and back of any novel, and there are more and more clichés to choose from these days....more
“A book arrives that in the opinion of the reviewer outrages a principle of politics or philosophy or history or art, and will lead its readers into error or illusion, and will coarsen discourse or experience—for such are the stakes in books, the power of books, and the real nihilism is to deny it.”
Leon Wieseltier at The New Republic defends his own frequently “negative” criticism, specifically of Franzen’s Freedom....more