Book Reviewing: Home



Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America

by Gail Pool

University of Missouri Press

Summer 2007



Available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords



Book Reviewing: A Bibliography



This is a bibliography-in-progress and I welcome comments, questions, corrections, and suggestions.       

Please send correspondence to: Gail Pool


{Please note: The few entries in brackets indicate items I haven’t yet personally examined.}


·       Abbott, Charlotte.  “The Power of Print Media.”  Publishers Weekly, May 13, 2002, 39-41.  Article argues that even in this “age of electronic media, when network television programs…can create a bestseller overnight,” “national newspapers still make a critical impression on book consumers.” Abbott cites the commercial impact of book coverage in such newspapers as the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall St. Journal.

·       [Adams, James Truslow.  “Reviewing in America.”  Saturday Review of Literature, February 7, 1931, 582-83.]

·       Almond, Steve.  “On Reviews: A First-Timer Reveals How It Feels.”  Poets and Writers, May/June 2003, 44-53.

·       “Amateurs on Amazon.” Economist, August 28, 1999, 65.

·       Amis, Martin.  “Life Class.”  In The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews, 1971-2000.  New York: Talk Miramax Books/Hyperion, 2001.  Review originally published in New Statesman 1976.  In this review of John Updike’s collection of reviews, Picked-Up Pieces, Amis touches on various aspects of reviewing.

·       Arana-Ward, Marie.  “Views From Publisher’s Row.”  Washington Post Book World, June 1, 1997.

·       Arnold, Martin.  “A Critique of the Critics.”  Making Books.  New York Times, April 23, 1998, B3.  “Making Books” column about Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

·       ------ “Fictional War of the Sexes.”  Making Books.  New York Times, June 4, 1998, B3.  “Making Books” column, commenting on a Harper’s Magazine article by Francine Prose (“Are Women Writers Really Inferior?”), briefly discusses representation of women on the book page, as authors and reviewers.

·       Atlas, James.  “In Praise of Dispraise.”  Atlantic, August 1981, 79-83.  Essay discusses invective as an “art form” that has “gone out of style.”

·       Atwood, Margaret.  “Sexual Bias in Reviewing.”  In Ann Dybikowski et al, eds.  In the Feminine: Women and Words: Conference Proceedings, 1983.  Toronto: Longspoon Press, 1985.

·       Austin, Charlotte.  “Art of Reviewing: Book Reviewing Today.”  The Charlotte Austin Review, December 17, 2000.

·       Avant, John Alfred.  “Slouching Toward Criticism.”  Library Journal, v. 96, December 15, 1971, 4055-4059.  “A librarian’s review of reviews.”

·       Bagnall, Nicholas.  “O My Connolly and My Toynbee Long Ago!”  New Statesman, July 4, 1997, 49.

·       Baker, Carlos.  “Query: What Are Critics Good For?  Answer: To Find What is Worth Finding and to Keep Whatever is Worth Keeping.”  New York Times Book Review, July 17, 1960, 1, 14, 18.

·       Balakian, Nona.  “The Lowly State of Book Reviewing.”  In Critical Encounters: Literary Views and Reviews, 1953-1977.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1978.

·       Baratz-Logsted, Lauren.  “Toward a Utopia of Book Reviewing for Women.”, July 7, 2005.

·       Barbato, Joseph.  “The Trouble With Reviews.”  Publishers Weekly, April 14, 1989, 28-29.  Article discusses the review situation for small presses.

·       Barrett, Paul M.  “Court Reverses Ruling in Times Case.”  Boston Globe, May 4, 1994, 49.  Brief news article on the dismissal of Dan Moldea’s libel suit against The New York Times.

·       Barringer, Felicity.  “Newspaper Budget Cuts Pinch Book Pages.”  New York Times, April 23, 2001, C8.

·       Barzun, Jacques.  “A Little Matter of Sense.”  New York Times Book Review, June 21, 1987, 1, 27-29.  Barzun argues eloquently for clarity and precision in criticism.

·       Bass, Judy.  “In Defense of Book Critics.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, May 8, 1987, 48.

·       Baumann, Paul.  “Confessions of a Book Review Editor.”  Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 2001, 83-85.

·       Bawer, Bruce.  “Literary Life in the 1990s.”  New Criterion, September 1991, 53-60.

·       Berger, Kevin.  “The Incredible Vanishing Book Review.”, July 19, 2001.  Part of a series of articles on the consolidation of power and ownership in the media, this article focuses on book-page cuts at the San Francisco Chronicle but looks more widely at the newspaper industry as well and concludes that “book criticism is an increasingly endangered beat in a chain-dominated newspaper industry now permanently fixated on the bottom line.”

·       Berger, Maurice, ed.  The Crisis of Criticism.  New York: The New Press, 1998.

·       Berger, Meyer.  The Story of the New York Times, 1851-1951.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1951.

·       Beyer, Gregory.  “The Last Word: Advice for Aggrieved Authors: Zip It.”  Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 2008, 59.

·       Bingham, Sallie.  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, August 5, 1983, 102.  Book review editor at the Louisville Courier Journal asserts the importance of regional newspaper book sections and argues that they will not survive if New York publishers continue to ignore them, by failing to send galleys, to schedule author appearances of interviews, or to advertise in their pages.

·       Birkerts, Sven.  “The Reviewing Life.”  Boston Book Review, Winter 1994.

·       -----“Critical Condition; Reading, Writing and Reviewing: An Old-Schooler Looks Back.”  BookForum, Spring 2004, 8-12.

·       -----“Lost in the Blogosphere.”  Boston Sunday Globe, July 29, 2007, E1-E2.  A longtime reviewer discusses literary blogs and explains why he believes we need print reviews.

·       Block, Marylaine.  “The Art of Reviewing.”  Littera Scripta, 2000.  A Library Journal reviewer offers some brief comments on reviewing.

·       Bloom, John.  “The ‘Art’ of the Review; Brilliant Sri Lankan Novelists, Go Home.”  Guest Comment on National Review Online,, May 21, 2002.  (Reprinted from United Press International.)  Bloom lets his biases and patriotism hang out in this attack on the selection of books the “big Sunday book sections” review--not the airport rack books  “everyone actually reads” but books that are “exotic to the point of obscurity, internationalist, multicultural (by virtue of the translation)”--and how they review them.

·       [Bodenheim, Maxwell.  “Criticism in America.”  Saturday Review of Literature, June 6, 1925, 801-2.]

·       Bogart, Leo.  “The Culture Beat: A Look at the Numbers.”  Gannett Center Journal, (now Media Studies Journal), Winter 1990, 23-35.  “One of America’s top media researchers takes an empirical look at trends in cultural criticism, especially in the newspaper industry.”

·       “Book Reviewing a la Mode.”  Nation, August 17, 1911.

·       “Bottom-Line Pressures in Publishing: A Panel Discussion.”  Edited and abbreviated transcript of a National Arts Journalism Program panel held at Columbia University on April 17, 1998.   Moderated by book review editor Ruth Lopez and literary critic Carlin Romano, the panel focuses on the topic: “Is the Critic More Important than Ever?”  Moderators and panelists from the publishing field offer a range of views on the role, importance, and problems of contemporary reviewing.

·       Bowman, James.  “A Little Help For Their Friends.” National Review, March 7, 1994, 63.

·       Boyd, Ernest.  “Ku Klux Kriticism.”  Nation, June 20, 1923.

·       Brantley, Ben.  “Fool or Prophet? No, Just a Critic.”  New York Times, Nov. 14, 2001.

·       Brockes, Emma.  “Trash Your Rivals and Get Away With It.”  Guardian Unlimited, January 20, 2000.

·       Brown, Ivor.  “Critics and Creators.” Saturday Review, August 10, 1963, 11-13, 39.  “A British novelist, critic, and journalist argues the case for criticism by those who have ‘sweated, suffered, and faced the frustrations’ of creative writing.”

·       Broyard, Anatole.  “Fashions in Reviewing.”  New York Times Book Review.  Brief commentary on how reviewing, once acerbic and even venomous, has become gentler in contemporary times.

·       Brustein, Robert.  “An Embarrassment of Riches.”  New Republic, March 16, 1992, 27-29.

·       Bryant, Eric.  “Are Reviewers Fair to Gay and Lesbian Writers?”  National Book Critics Circle Journal, Autumn 1999, 4-5.  Commentary arising from John Updike’s New Yorker review of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Spell, a review that Bryant, and other critics, judged homophobic.

·       Burger, Nash.  “Truth or Consequence: Books and Book Reviewing.”  South Atlantic Quarterly, Spring 1969, 152-166.  An editor of The New York Times Book Review reflects on quality vs. trendiness in literature and reviews.

·       Burgess, Anthony.  “A Shrivel of Critics; Modest proposals for reviewers.”  Harper’s, February 1977. 87, 90-91.

·       Burgess, Anthony.  “Joseph Kell, V.S. Naipaul and Me.” New York Times Book Review, April 21, 1991, 1, 28-31.

·       Business Week, “Newt Gingrich, Literary Critic,” Sept. 10, 2001, 14.

·       Calame, Byron.  “The Book Review: Who Critiques Whom—and Why?”  The Public Editor, Week in Review, New York Times, December 18, 2005, 12.  Calame, the Times’s Public Editor, briefly discusses policies at The New York Times Book Review, explaining how the editors deal with some conflicts of interest and suggesting that some of their solutions need to be reconsidered.

·       Caldwell, Heather. “Pecked.”, July 24, 2002.

·       Calvani, Mayra and Anne K. Edwards.  The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, Twilight Times Books, 2008.

·       Canby, Henry Seidel.  Definitions: Essays in Contemporary Criticism.  New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922.

·       ------“On Criticism.”  In Definitions: Essays in Contemporary Criticism. (Second Series) New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1924.

·       [------“Books Are News.”  Saturday Review of Literature, January 30, 1926, 521.]

·       ------“Blurbing.”  Saturday Review of Literature, November 24, 1934, 308.

·       Cannadine, David.  “On Reviewing and Being Reviewed,” History Today, March 1999, 30-33.

·       Caplan, Paula J. and Mary Ann Palko.  “The Times is Not A-Changin’.”  Women’s Review of Books, November 2004.  Caplan and Palko report on the low percentage of women authors and reviewers on the pages of the New York Times Book Review and other prestigious book review publications.  (For another article on their study, see: Cotts, Cynthia.  “Boy, Girl, Boy: Sexism at The NYT Book Review?”)

·       Charles, Ron.  “Will Authors Get Honest Review for $350?”  Christian Science Monitor, September 27, 2004.

·       Ciabattari, Jane.  “Editors on Reviews.”  Poets and Writers, July/August 2003, 48-55.

·       Coleman, Wanda.  “Book Reviewing, African-American Style.”  L. A. Weekly, August-9-15, 2002.

·       Complete Review Quarterly, “Withering Reviews: Where Have All the Book Reviews Gone?”, Complete Review, Vol. II, issue 2, May 2001.

·       Conason, Joe.  “The Woman Who Couldn’t Read.”  Joe Conason’s Journal., January 27, 2003.

·       Connolly, Cyril.  “More About the Modern Novel.”  The Selected Essays of Cyril Connolly.  Edited and With an Introduction by Peter Quennell.  New York: Persea Books, 1984.

·       ------“Ninety Years of Novel Reviewing.”  The Selected Essays of Cyril Connolly.  Edited and With an Introduction by Peter Quennell.  New York: Persea Books, 1984.

·       Conrad, Peter.  “From the Derisive Position.” Times Literary Supplement, March 25-31, 1988, 329.

·       Constantine, David.  “Eager to Come At the Truth.”  Review of Behind the Lines by Michael Hofmann and Signs and Wonders by D. J. Enright.  Times Literary Supplement, Nov. 16, 2001, 12.  In this review of two collections composed mainly of old reviews, Constantine discusses the virtues and problems of such collections in general—and these in particular—and offers perceptive observations about the nature of reviewing.

·       Cook, Bruce.  “The Select and Sought-After Newspaper Book Sections.” Washington Journalism Review, May 1983, 24-26; 28-29.  Article deals with loss of review space, trouble acquiring advertising, and other aspects of newspaper book sections; based on interviews with review editors at larger newspapers.  Includes a one-page question-and-answer feature with various editors participating.

·       Cooper, Gloria.  “Book Reviewing Ain’t Beanbag.”  Darts and Laurels.  Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 2000, 14.

------Dart to Tulsa World.  Darts and Laurels.  Columbia Journalism Review, November/December 1991, 38.

·       Coser, Lewis A., Charles Kadushin, and Walter W. Powell.  Books: The Culture and Commerce of Publishing.  New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1982.

·       Cotts, Cynthia.  “Boy, Girl, Boy: Sexism at The NYT Book Review?”  Nation: Press Clips.  Village Voice, January 7-13, 2004.  (See also: Caplan, Paula J. and Mary Ann Palko. )

·       Cox, Ana Marie.  “The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations.”  the antic muse, May 9, 2003.

·       Cowley, Jason. “Ouch!” Guardian, Oct. 3, 2002.

·       Cowley, Malcolm.  “Criticism: A Many-Windowed House.”  Saturday Review, August 12, 1961, 10-11; 46-47.  Critique of critical approaches.

·       Criticism in America: Its Function and Status.  Essays by Irving Babbitt, Van Wyck Brooks, W.C. Brownell, Ernest Boyd, T.S. Eliot, H. L. Mencken, Stuart P. Sherman, J.E. Spingarn, and George E. Woodberry.  Harcourt Brace, 1924; Haskell House Publishers, 1969.

·       Curtis, Anthony: Lit Ed: On Reviewing and Reviewers.  Manchester: Carcanet, 1998.

·       Davidson, Donald. “Criticism Outside New York.”  In The Spyglass, Views and Reviews, 1924-1930.  Selected and edited by John Tyree Fain.  Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1963.  [This essay, originally called “Provincial Book Reviewing” and having a somewhat different lead, first appeared in Bookman, May 1931.]

·       Davis, Elmer.  History of The New York Times, 1851-1921.  New York: The New York Times, 1921.

·       Davison, Peter.  “The Real Cultural Article.” Atlantic, March 1966, 141-42.

·       Diamond, Edwin.  “Can You Prove the Hollandaise Was Curdled?”  New York Magazine, April 18, 1994, 32-34.

·       ------Behind the Times: Inside the New New York Times.  New York: Villard Books, 1994.  See esp. chap. 11: “Tweedy Backwater: Behind the Lines at the Book Review.”

·       Di Leo, Jeffrey.  “The Fate of the Book Review.”  Journal of Scholarly Publishing, January 2009.

·       ------“In Praise of Tough Criticism.”  The Chronicle Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 13, 2010.

·       Dirda, Michael.  “Reviewing Books.”  Off the Cuff.  Writer, December 1982, 5-6.  The deputy editor of the Washington Post Book World offers concise, lucid advice on writing reviews, describing the basic qualifications the reviewer should possess and the basic qualities the review should possess.

------“Freelance.”  Commentary, Times Literary Supplement, June 4, 2010, p. 16; June 18, 2010, p. 16; July 2, 2010; October 1, 2010, p. 16.  Dirda discusses his life as a book critic at the Washington Post Book World.  Written with charming self-deprecation and humor, these brief pieces offer insight into a book reviewing world that has disappeared.

·       Dobrzynski, Judith H., “Embarrassment of Critics: Raters Rated.”  New York Times, June 20, 1998, A15, A17.

·       Dorris, Michael.  “Say, Who Was That Semi-Masked Book Reviewer?”  Boston Sunday Globe, December 8, 1991, A14.

·       Dreher, Christopher.  “Bribes, Threats and Naked Readings.” September 16, 2002.  What authors will do to promote their work “in a world where more and more books get less and less attention.”

·       Drewry, John E.  Writing Book Reviews.  Boston: The Writer, Inc., 1945, 1966.

·       [Eaton, Walter Prichard.  “What Every Critic Knows.”  Harper’s, June 1920, 131.]

·       Eisenberg, Howard.  “So Many Books, So Little Space.”  Publishers Weekly, April 10, 1987, 25-30.  The author asks a dozen major newspaper book-page editors what makes them choose a book for review.

·       Epstein, Joseph. “Reviewing and Being Reviewed,” in Plausible Prejudices.  New York: W. W. Norton, 1985.  Essay originally published in The New Criterion, 1982.  Opening with his responses to reviews he has received, Epstein proceeds to discuss reviewing in general, commenting astutely on it purpose, its practice, its practitioners, and its problems.

·       Fadiman, Clifton.  “The Reviewing Business.”  Harper’s, October 1941, 472-79.

·       Farmanfarmaian, Roxane.  “How San Diego Got Its Book Review Section Back.”  Publishers Weekly, February 10, 1997, 12.  Brief news item on the revival of the San Diego Union-Tribune book review section, which had been diminished for several years.

·       Fialkoff, Francine.  “The Art of Reviewing: Mastering the short review is no easy feat.”  Library Journal, March 15, 1992, 74.

·       ------“Whose Words Are They, Anyhow? The delicate art of reviewing.”  Library Journal, August 1994, 62.

·       ------“The Medium and the Message: We need to stop segregating the media.”  Library Journal, March 15, 1995, 56.

·       ------“Are We Dumbing Down the Book Review?  Neither LJ—nor librarians—can serve just one clientele.”  Library Journal, April 15, 1995, 60.

·       Fialkoff, Francine.  “Better Never Than Late?  Publisher’s late galleys—or none at all—often imperil a review.”  Library Journal, May 15, 1995, 57.

·       ------“Caught in the Net.”  Library Journal, August 1995, 58.

·       ------“Calling All Reviewers: Here’s your chance to reap the rewards of reviewing.”  Library Journal, June 15, 1996, 52.

·       ------“Tainted Reviews.”  Library Journal, June 15, 2001, 61.  Commenting on the trade magazine ForeWord’s online pay-per-review service, Fialkoff argues that “paying to get a book reviewed ultimately compromises the review itself.”

·       ------“What’s a Review, Anyway?”  Library Journal, July 2001, 72.

·       Fields, Howard.  “Libel Suit Over ‘N. Y. Times’ Book Review Is Reinstated.”  Publishers Weekly, March 7, 1994, 14.  Brief news item on Dan Moldea’s libel suit against The New York Times.

·       Fister, Barbara.  “The Vanishing Book Review.”  Library Journal, May 7, 2009.

·       Fleming, Thomas.  “The War Between Writers and Reviewers.”  New York Times Book Review, Jan. 6, 1985, 3, 37.

·       Frizzelle, Christopher.  “Rant!  The Rise of the Critical Critic.”  Seattle Weekly, September 5-11, 2002.

·       Funderburg, Lise.  “Authors on Reviews.”  Poets and Writers, May/June 2003, 42-53.

·       Furbank, P.N. “Cool Appraisals.” Times Literary Supplement, May 18-24, 1990, 524.

·       Fusilli, Jim.  “A Crime Columnist’s Confession: Reviewing Is a Rough Trade.”  Boston Sunday Globe, July 18, 2004, E7.

·       Fussell, Paul.  “Vanity in Review: The Author’s Reply as a Literary Genre.”  Harper’s, February 1982, 68-73.  Fussell criticizes authors who reply to negative reviews with a letter-to-the-editor, which he calls the “A.B.M.”--the “Author’s Big Mistake.”

·       ------“A Power of Facing Unpleasant Facts.”  In Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays.  New York: Summit Books, 1988.  As in “Vanity in Review,” Fussell criticizes authors who cannot take criticism, who equate “unfavorable” with “unfair,” and who send off a letter-to-the-editor in reply to a negative review.

·       Gannon, Mary.  “Critics on Reviews.”  Poets and Writers, September/October 2003, 54-61.

·       Garbus, Martin.  “My Mother, Book Reviews and the First Amendment.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, April 25, 1994, 28.

·       Gard, Wayne.  Book Reviewing.  New York: F. S. Crofts, 1937.  Gard, a reviewer and review editor for the weekly book page of a daily newspaper, intends his book “to help the novice reviewer and the prospective reviewer.”  He offers some basic advice, advice from various review editors of the day, and sample reviews, which, like most reviews, are hard to read so many years later without some particular interest in the book, author, or reviewer.

·       Gardiner, Harold C.  “Fainting With Damn Praise.”  In In All Conscience, Garden City, NY: Hanover House, A Division of Doubleday, 1959, 25-30. 

·       Garner, Dwight.  “Crisis in Critville: Why You Can’t Trust Book Reviews.”, May 3, 1996.  (This article is also titled: “Blurbmania: When Good Reviews Happen to Bad Books.”)

·       Gissen, Max.  “Commercial Criticism and Punch-Drunk Reviewing.”  Antioch Review, Summer 1942, 252-63.  Gissen provides an astute description of the way in which reviewers are made part of the commercial publishing process.

·       Glendinning, Victoria.  “The Book Reviewer: The Last Amateur?” Essays by Divers Hands: Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, New Series: Vol. XLIV, edited by A. N. Wilson, 1986, 182-194.

·       Gold, Herbert.  “Reviewmanship and the I-Wrote-A-Book Disease.”  Atlantic, June 1970, 114.

·       Goodrich, Chris.  “Book Reviews as Book Promotion.”  Publishers Weekly, September 21, 1984, 30.

·       Gorman, Trisha.  “Which Books Should Get a Review?  How Ten Magazines Choose.”  Publishers Weekly, November 6, 1981, 23-27.  Article looks at selection policies of Atlantic, Esquire, Harper’s, Mother Jones, Nation, National Review, New Republic, Newsweek, Saturday Review, Time.

·       Gould, Edward S.  “American Criticism on American Literature.”  Lectures delivered before the Mercantile Library Association, December 29, 1835.  New York: Printed for the Mercantile Library Association, 1836.  Discussing the reviewing of “fictitious writings” in the periodical press, Gould analyzes critical practices, focusing on the reasons for the preponderance of overpraise.  He addresses a central literary issue of the time: the patriotic desire to nurture the young country’s literature by praise, an impulse he believes is misguided, but deals with other issues as well.  Overall, his analysis and commentary are extraordinarily relevant today.

·       Gray, John Maclachlan.  “Forget Ottawa, Try the Conflicted World of Writers.”  The Globe and Mail, June 18, 2002.

·       Greeley, Andrew.  “Who Reads Book Reviews Anyway?”  Publishers Weekly, April 10, 1987, 78.

·       Green, Jack.  Fire the Bastards!  Introduction by Steven Moore.  Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1992.  Green’s examination of the review media’s treatment of William Gaddis’s The Recognitions, first published by Green himself in his periodical, newspaper, in 1962 and reprinted here in book form.

·       Griffin, Bryan.  “Literary Hype: The Book Critic as Flack.” Atlantic, June 1979, 45.

·       ------“Panic Among the Philistines: The Collapse of the Literary Establishment.”  Harper’s, August 1981, 37-52;  “Panic Among the Philistines: The Literary Vulgarians.”  Harper’s, September 1981, 41-56.

·       Gross, John.  “The ‘Littery Supplement’ Comes of Age: A History, of Sorts, of the Book Review.”  New York Times Book Review, 100th Anniversary Issue, October 6, 1996.

·       -----The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters; a Study of the Idiosyncratic and the Humane in Modern Literature.   New York: Macmillan, 1969.

·       Grumbach, Doris.  “An Editor’s Report,” The Guest Word, The New York Times Book Review, August 17, 1962.  Grumbach reflects on reviewing after more than two years as literary editor of The New Republic.

·       Guerard, Jr., Albert.  “Criticism and Commodity.”  The New Republic.

·       Gutin, JoAnn C.  “Becoming a Book Reviewer.”  Writer, October 1996, 18.

·       Hackett, Francis, editor.  On American Books; A Symposium by Five American Critics as Printed in the London Nation.  Folcroft, Pennsylvania: Folcroft Press, 1969.  [Originally published 1920.]

·       Hamilton, John Maxwell.  “Inglorious Employment.”  In Casanova Was a Book Lover: And Other Naked Truths and Provocative Curiosities about the Writing, Selling, and Reading of Books.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2000.

·       Hammond, Margo.  “The Case of the Reviewer Who Didn’t Read.”  PoynterOnline, Feb. 5, 2003.

·       [Hansen, Harry.  “Book Reviews Resist Commercialism.” Editor and Publisher, July 21, 1934, 105; 128.]

·       Hardwick, Elizabeth.  “The Decline of Book Reviewing.”  Harper’s, October 1959, 139-43.  In this well-known essay, Hardwick attacks American book reviewing, judging it to be overly praising, weak, essentially uncritical.  “Sweet, bland commendations fall everywhere upon the scene,” she writes; “a universal, if somewhat lobotomized, accommodation reigns.”  Several years after this essay appeared, in 1963, Hardwick helped launch the New York Review of Books.

·       Haugland, Ann.  “Books as Culture/Books as Commerce,” Journalism Quarterly, v. 71, no. 4, Winter 1994, 787-99.

·       Henderson, Bill, editor.  Introduction by Anthony Brandt.  Rotten Reviews: A Literary Companion.  Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1986.

·        Herf, Jeffrey.  “A New American Book Review?” TNR Online, February 16, 2007.

·       Hicks, Granville.  “The Journalism of Book Reviewing.”  Saturday Review, December 12, 1959, 16.  “The responsibilities and limitations of literary journalism.”

·       Hoffert, Barbara.  “Every Reader a Reviewer: The Online Book Conversation.”  Library Journal, September 1, 2010.  A good discussion of the current reviewing landscape with its expanding consumer commentary and continuing need for authoritative reviewers.

·       Hoge, James O. and James L. W. West III.  “Academic Book Reviewing: Some Problems and Suggestions.”  Scholarly Publishing, October 1979, 35-41.  The authors argue that “book reviewing deserves to be treated more seriously by journal editors, book publishers, the reviewers themselves, and university committees considering tenure and promotion.”

·       Hoge, James O., editor.  Literary Reviewing.  Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987.  Essays on scholarly reviewing.

·       Hoggart, Richard.  “Reviewers and Reviewing.”  In Between Two Worlds.  London: Aurum Press, 2001, 132-41.  Previously published in Society, 34/3, 1997, (Rutgers University, New Jersey).  Hoggart presents a checklist of reviewers’ “more common” faults.

·       Hollander, John.  “Some Animadversions on Current Reviewing.”  In The American Reading Public: What It Reads, Why It Reads. The Daedalus Symposium, with Rebuttals and Other New Material.  Edited by Roger H. Smith.  New York: Bowker, 1962, 1963, 224-33.  Hollander complains about the state of reviewing in American mass publications, especially The New York Time Book Review, and suggests that what is needed is a new “weekly periodical devoted to book reviews (and perhaps to film, music, and art chronicles also).”

·       Holt, Pat.  “About Those ‘Paid Reviews’ From ForeWord Magazine,” Holt Uncensored #242, June 12, 2001.  Assessing the trade magazine ForeWord’s new policy to provide reviews for a fee, Holt discusses the circumstances in reviewing that make the policy seem to her “timely, bold, and important.”

·       ------“Those Dying Book Reviews.”  #245: Part I: “A World-Class Disgrace.”  Holt Uncensored, June 22, 2001; #246: Part II: “Patty’s Great Idea.”  Holt Uncensored, June 26, 2001.  In the first of this two-part article, Holt discusses the decline in book review space in American newspapers, exploring some of the attitudes that have led to the cuts which she calls “appalling and unconscionable”; in part two, she suggests that if a newspaper, declaring a commitment to reading, added real space for reviews, expanded the advertising base, and made the Book Review “a self-sustaining business,” it would benefit not only books but the newspaper itself, drawing in new subscribers and readers.

·       Hoover, Bob.  “Bad Reviews Equal Bad Reviewers is a Double Negative.”  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 12, 2003.

·       ------“Critic Blasts ‘Snarky’ Reviewers.”  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 6, 2003. 

·       ------“The Hunting of the Snarky Book Critic.”  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 28, 2003.

·       ------“Where Does Book Criticism Go From Here?”  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 15, 2004.  Book page editor comments on acerbic reviewing and the need for qualified critics.

·       Howard, Gerald.  “The Cultural Ecology of Book Reviewing.”  Media Studies Journal, Summer 1992, 90-109.  “An apocalyptic view is that book reviews will die out as owners of magazines and newspapers see them as unprofitable.  An editor at W. W. Norton (and self-described book review ‘junkie’) fears for the future of books and culture in a market-driven society.  ‘To newspaper and magazine executives, I say: Support excellence in book reviewing in every way you can, for you might not like the culture you get if you don’t.’”

·       Hower, Edward.  “Reviewing Books.”  Writer, December 1993, 24.

·       Huang, Jim.  “Wrong Man For the Job: An Essay on Reviewing.”  Drood Review, May/June 1996.  Discussing the problems he had reviewing a particular mystery, Huang, editor of the Drood Review, raises general issues of personal taste and bias that all reviewers face.

·       James, Clive.  “The Good of a Bad Review.”  New York Times, September 7, 2003, Op Ed, 13.

·       Johnson, Dennis Loy.  “How to Make Literary Journalists Nervous.”  MobyLives, April 2, 2001.

·       ------“Vanity, Thy Name is ‘ForeWord’.”  MobyLives, May 21, 2001.  Johnson argues that the trade magazine ForeWord magazine’s pay-per-review scheme is deceptive; since the paid-for reviews are ghettoized, they will not be taken seriously in the publishing trade and will only serve to exploit self-published authors, and “further stigmatize their books.”

·       “Top Times Book Critic Becomes a Beat Reporter to Be Avoided.”  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, [April 3, 2000-online]

·       Johnson, Greg.  “Let’s Give Reviewers Some Credit.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, September. 21, 1992, 104.

·       Johnson, Liz and Linda A. Brown.  “Book Reviews by the Numbers.”  Collection Management, v. 33, Numbers 1 & 2,  2008.

·       Jones, Preston.  “Books and Culture Corner: Theodore Rex.”  Christianity Today, January 28, 2002.

·       Joseph, Michael.  “Advertising and Reviews.” Chap. 8 in The Adventure of Publishing.  London: Allan Wingate, 1948.

·       Julavits, Heidi.  “Rejoice! Believe! Be Strong and Read Hard!  The Snarky Dumbed-Down World of Book Reviewing.”  The Believer, March 2003, 3-15.

·       Kamerman, Sylvia E., ed. Book Reviewing: A Guide to Writing Book Reviews for Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, and Television--by Leading Book Editors, Critics, and Reviewers.  Boston: The Writer, Inc., 1978.

·       Kauffmann, Stanley.  “Greatness as a Literary Standard.”  Harper’s, November 1965, 151-56.  “The demand for ‘greatness’ from critics and readers is proving a destructive force among American writers, argues an American critic.  Is greatness a delusive criterion?  And how does it damage not only authors but critics and readers as well?”

·       Kelleher, James B.  “The Other Book Review.”  Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1999, 10-11.

·       Kinsella, W. P.  “Where the Hell is the VP of Review Copies?”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, February 24, 1992, 64.  Novelist and review-columnist Kinsella complains about the failure of publishers to supply review copies of books he requests.

·       Kirn, Walter.  “Remember When Books Mattered?”  New York Times Book Review, February 4, 2001, 8-9.  Discussing his own stint as a weekly reviewer for New York magazine and his decision to leave the job, Kirn addresses the subject of American reviewing in general, judging it to be overly polite and bland.

·       Kirsner, Scott.  “Everyone’s Always Been a Critic—but the Net Makes Their Voices Count.”  Boston Globe, April 30, 2006, D1.

·       Klinghoffer, David.  “Black Madonna: Toni Morrison’s Popularity is Less a Matter of Literary Taste Than of Mass Psychology.”  National Review, February 9, 1998, 30-32.  Complaining about what he sees as undeserved overpraise of Morrison’s new novel Paradise, Klinghoffer asserts that black boosterism and white liberalism have “lionized a black woman writer who isn’t much good.”

·       Kluger, Richard.  “What I Did to Books and Vice Versa.”  Harper’s, December 1966, 69-74.  “The former editor of Book Week tells how to pick reviewers; where to find them; and how to keep them, the authors they review, publishers, and finally readers happy, amused, and fitfully stimulated.”

·       Kramer, Mimi.  “Finally Free of Frank.”  New York, March 14, 1994, 47-50.

·       Kroll, Jack.  “Who Shall Criticize the Critics?”  Newsweek, January 21, 1974, 89.

·       Lamport, Felicia.  “The Hypocritics.”  Atlantic, August 1966, 104.

·       Langer, Adam.  “Enough About Me #18: In Which the Author, Michael Ondaatje, Diana Abu-Jaber and a Host of Others Discuss the Seven Deadly Sins of Critics (and by ‘Deadly,’ We Don’t Necessarily Mean Bad).”  The Book Standard,, July 26, 2005.  Brief article on the failings of reviews offers entertaining examples. 

·       Leonard, John.  “How a Caged Bird Learns to Sing: Or, My Life at the New York Times, CBS and Other Pillars of the Media Establishment.” Nation, June 26, 2000, 11-19.

·       Leonhardt, David.  “Everyone’s a Critic: Rating the Zagat Survey’s Newfound Appetite for Cultural Clout.”  New York Times, November 23, 2003, Arts and Leisure, 1, 10, 25.

·       Lewin, Tamar.  “In Reversal, Appeals Court Dismisses Libel Suit Against Times.”  New York Times, May 4, 1994, A21.  Brief news article on the dismissal of Dan Moldea’s libel suit against The New York Times.

·       Lingeman, Richard.  “Reviewmanship.”  The Nation, December 22, 1984, 683-84.   A satire of various reviewing strategies  that can be useful in “punishing an enemy, rewarding a friend or winning favor with a patron.”

·       [Lorentzen, Christian.  “Limnophomaniac.”  Harper’s, December 2003.]

·       Lyall, Sarah.  “Partners in Interpretation.”  Book Notes.  New York Times, March 23, 1994, C19.  News item comments on brief filed by The Association of American Publishers and the PEN American Center supporting The New York Times in Dan Moldea’s libel suit against the paper, noting that the Authors Guild did not join in.

·       Lyons, Gene.  “Moonbeams and Magnolias at the New York Times,” {Arkansas Gazette, Jan. 29, 2003}.

·       Lyke, M. L. “When It Comes to Books, Everyone’s a Cybercritic.”  Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 27, 2000.

·       Mabe, Chauncey.  “Paper Pulls Negative Review of Star Writer’s Novel.”, September 27, 2003.  Brief article reports that Detroit Free Press killed a review of a novel by Mitch Albom, a sports columnist for the paper, because the review was negative.

·       McCombie, Brian.  “Breaking into Book Reviewing.”  Writer, June 1996, 17.

·       McCrum, Robert.  “Grub Street in a Spin.”  Guardian Unlimited Observer, August 11, 2002.  “Sticks and Stones.”  Guardian Unlimited Books, October 13, 2002.

·       McDonald, Florin.  Book Reviewing in the American Newspaper.  Ph. D. diss. Graduate School of the University of Missouri, 1936.

·       Mailer, Norman.  “A Critic With Balance: A Letter From Norman Mailer.”  New York Times Book Review, November 17, 1991, 7, 38.

·       Marx, Bill.   “The Decline of Book Reviewing.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, October 25, 1993, 36.  In this column, Marx argues that “serious reviewers are struggling to survive in a journalistic climate more hostile to independent thought, high standards and the craft of criticism than ever before.”  He complains that reviews are increasingly characterized by hype, blandness, questionable ethics, and a lack of complex thought.

·       Mayer, Martin.  “The Disembodied Voice of the Times Lit. Supp.”  In All You Know Is Facts.  New York: Harper & Row, 1969, 40-57.  (Originally published in Esquire in 1960.)  Mayer offers an interesting discussion of the TLS, the highly respected review supplement of the London Times, describing its character, its history, its practices (including its continued use--at the time--of anonymous reviewers), its editors, and its standing both in England and in America, which has nothing like it.

·       Mayfield, Kendra.  “Harriet the Online Book Reviewer.”, July 1, 2002.

·       Mehegan, David.  “Dershowitz Protests, and a New, Milder Book Review Runs.”  Boston Globe, May 25, 2004.  Brief article reports that Alan M. Dershowitz complained to Publishers Weekly about their negative review of his book America on Trial, and editor-in-chief Nora Rawlinson, agreeing that the review didn’t meet their “reviewing standards,” published another, milder review.  A first for PW, according to Rawlinson.

·       Mencken, H. L. “The Motive of the Critic.”  New Republic, October 26, 1921.

·       Merritt, Stephanie.  “The Pen is Crueller…”  The Observer,, May 11, 2003.  Commenting on the stir about negative reviewing caused by Heidi Julavits’s article on “snarky” reviewing in The Believer, Merritt suggests there is a point to negative reviews.

·       Miles, Jack.  “Can a Review Be Libelous?”  National Book Critics Journal, August 1994, 1-4.

·       ------“On Reviewing Popular Books.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, July 27, 1990, 209.  “In review publishing, serious books protect the basic franchise, holding open the space in which popular books may also be reviewed.”

·       Miller, Laura.  “After Oprah.”, April 18, 2002.

·       ------“Book Lovers’ Quarrel.”, October 26, 2001.

·       ------“How Many Books Are Too Many?”  Last Word.  New York Times Book Review, July 18, 2004, 23.

·       ------“How To Get on the Cover of the New York Times Book Review.”, July 29, 1999.  Brief article suggests that a “dark-horse candidate” has a better chance of being featured on the cover of the Book Review during the summer, when fewer books are published.

·       ------“The Hunting of the Snark.”  Last Word.  New York Times Book Review, October 5, 2003, 31.

·       Milliott, Jim.  “Booksellers Say Publishers Support Selling Efforts, But Could Do Better.”  Publishers Weekly, September 27, 1999, 12.

·       Miner, Valerie.  “The Feminist Reviewer.”  In Rumors From the Cauldron: Selected Essays, Reviews, Reportage.  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992.  Essay originally appeared in the New Women’s Times Feminist Review, January 1979, and was subsequently published in Words in Her Pockets, edited by Celeste West, Booklegger Press, 1985.  Miner, though sharing the qualms of Virginia Woolf and Dickens about reviewers, argues for “the survival of the feminist reviewer” as a “support to authors and a reference for readers.”

·       ------“Reviews.”  In Rumors From the Cauldron: Selected Essays, Reviews, Reportage.  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992.  Miner discusses her reasons for writing reviews and for not reading reviews of her own work

·       Mott, Frank Luther.  A History of American Magazines, Vol. 1: 1741-1850.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1938.

·       ------A History of American Magazines, Vol. 2: 1850-1865.  Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1938.

·       ------A History of American Magazines, Vol. 3: 1865-1885.  Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1938.

·       ------A History of American Magazines, Vol. 4: 1885-1905.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1957.

·       ------ A History of American Magazines, Vol. 5: 1905-1930.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968.

·       Murry, J. Middleton.  “A Critical Credo.”  New Republic, October 26, 1921.

·       Myers, B. R.  “A Reader’s Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness of American Literary Prose.”  Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2001, 104-22.  Myers attacks the “self-conscious, writerly prose” of contemporary “literary fiction,” blaming the “literary establishment”—“editors, critics, and prize jurors, not to mention novelists themselves”—for advancing, praising, and rewarding such affected works.  He focuses on the prose style of Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy, David Guterson, Paul Auster, and Don DeLillo, closely analyzing selected passages from their novels.  Throughout, he quotes praise from reviewers who have raved about the prose he finds obscure, convoluted, unrealistic, or meaningless.

·       Myers, B. R.  “A Reader’s Revenge.”  E-mail Interview with Sage Stossel.  Atlantic Unbound, October 2, 2002.  Following the publication of his article “A Reader’s Manifesto” in book form, Myers comments here on some of the issues he raised in his manifesto, among them the failure of contemporary reviewing, which he believes would improve if reviewers would concentrate on the prose of the works they’re reviewing.

·       Myers, D. G.  “Whatever Became of Poet-Critics?”  South Carolina Review 27, Spring 1995, 354-61.

·       [Nadal, E. S.  “Newspaper Literary Criticism.”  Atlantic Monthly, March 1877, 312-17.]

·       Nathan, Paul.  “Reviewers’ Clout.”  Publishers Weekly, December 19, 1994, 17.  In this brief item, Nathan cites two cases indicating that a strong laudatory review may persuade producers that a book is movie or television material.

·       National Arts Journalism Program: “Bottom-Line Pressures in Publishing,” panel discussion April 17, 1998.

·       National Book Critics Circle Journal, 1988-2005.

·       Nawotka, Edward.  “Reviewing the State of Book Review Coverage.”  Publishers Weekly, October 9, 2006.  Brief article discusses newspaper book sections, focusing on financial pressures and cutbacks.

·       Nobile, Philip.  Intellectual Skywriting: Literary politics and The New York Review of Books.”  New York: Charterhouse, 1974.

·       Norman, Michael.  “A Book in Search of a Buzz: The Marketing of a First Novel.”  New York Times Book Review, January 30, 1994, 3, 22-23; 25; “Reader by Reader and Town by Town, A New Novelist Builds a Following.”  New York Times Book Review, February 6, 1994, 3, 28-30.

·       Okrent, Daniel.  “The Report, the Review and a Grandstand Play.”  New York Times, June 27, 2004, The Public Editor, Week in Review, 2.

·       Oppenheimer, Evelyn.  Book Reviewing for an Audience:  A Practical Guide in Techniques for Lecture and Broadcast.  Philadelphia: Chilton Co.  1962.

·       [Orrick, James.  “Reviewers, Reviewing, and Book Promotion.”  Publishers Weekly, December 19, 1931, 2631-34.]

·       O’Rourke, Meghan.  “The Wonder Years: When people loved the New York Times Book Review.”  Culturebox,, December 2, 2003.  Article on The New York Times Book Review under editor John Leonard, 1971-1975.

·       Orwell, George.  “Confessions of a Book Reviewer.”  In Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell.  Edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus.  Vol. 4: In Front of Your Nose, 1945-1950.  New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1968.  Published previously in Tribune, May 3, 1946; New Republic August 5, 1946.  Judging by how often it is cited, this may be the most widely read essay on book reviewing ever written.   Writing with wit and acuity, Orwell describes the plight of reviewers, analyzes the reasons so much bad reviewing occurs, and suggests that ignoring the majority of books to focus longer reviews on books that matter would help reviewing improve.

·       ------“In Defence of the Novel.”  In Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell.  Edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus.  Vol. 1: An Age Like This, 1920,1940.  New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1968.  Published previously in New English Weekly, November 12 and 19, 1936.  In this sharp and witty essay, Orwell argues against hype in fiction reviewing, analyzes some of the professional and commercial reasons it occurs, and suggests that what is needed is a periodical “which makes a speciality of novel reviewing but refuses to take any notice of tripe, and in which the reviewers are reviewers and not ventriloquists’ dummies clapping their jaws when the publisher pulls the string.”

·       ------“A New Year Message.” In Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell.  Edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus.  Vol. 3: As I Please, 1943-1945.  New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1968.  Published previously in As I Please, Tribune, January 5, 1945.  Orwell explains the literary policy of the Tribune, commenting on problems and criticisms faced by a Socialist paper in handling literary matters.

·       Outland, Ethel R..  The “Effingham” Libels on Cooper: A Documentary History of the Libel Suits of James Fenimore Cooper Centering Around the Three Mile Point Controversy and the Novel “Home As Found” 1837-1845.  Studies in Language and Literature, Number 28.  Madison: The University of Wisconsin, 1929.

·       Palattella, John.  “The Death and Life of the Book Review.”  Nation, June 2, 2010.

·       Parini, Jay.  “The Disappearing Art of Reviewing Books.”  Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 1999.

·       Payne, Tom.  “Circle of Clichés: Tom Payne’s Guide to the Words that Reviewers and Publishers Love Too Much.” UK Telegraph,, August 8, 2004.  Payne, a former member of the Daily Telegraph books team, presents a sharp-witted guide to the jargon of Grub Street.

·       Peck, Dale.  Hatchet Jobs.  New York: The New Press, 2004.

·       Perry, Bliss.  “The American Reviewer.”  Yale Review, October 14, 1914, 3-24.

·       ------“Literary Criticism in American Periodicals.”  Yale Review, July 1914, 635-55.

·       Peyre, Henri.  “What is Wrong With American Book-Reviewing?”  The American Reading Public: What It Reads, Why It Reads.  The Daedalus Symposium, with Rebuttals and Other New Material.  Edited by Roger H. Smith.  New York: Bowker, 1962, 1963, 207-23.  Peyre provides a perceptive overview of reviewing in America, analyzing it in relation to American culture, drawing some comparisons with British and French reviewing, contrasting academic criticism with literary journalism, and concluding that we must “bridge the artificial gulf between the academics and the nonacademics in America.” 

·       Podhoretz, Norman.  “Book Reviewing and Everyone I Know.”  In Doings and Undoings: The Fifties and After in American Writing.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1966.

·       Pollitt, Katha.  “Adventures in Book Reviewing.”  Nation, April 15, 2002.

·       ------“Thank You For Hating My Book.”  New York Times, Op Ed, July 12, 2006, A23.

·       Pool, Gail.  “Critics Unmasked: The Confidential Side of Book Reviewing.”  Boston Review, April 1988, 20-21.

·       ------“Do It Yourself.”  Women’s Review of Books, March/April, 2008.

·       ------“Eliminate The Negative? Reviewing, Censorship and Self-Censorship.”  Women’s Review of Books, September 1994, 15-16.

·       ------Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America.  Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2007.

·       ------“Inside Book Reviewing.”  Boston Review, August 1987, 8-10.

·       ------“Magazines in Review.”  Wilson Library Bulletin, October 1992, 90-92.

·       ------“Too Many Reviews of Scholarly Books Are Puffy, Nasty, or Poorly Written.”  Point of View.  Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 1988, A36.

·       Press, Joy.  “A Short Oral History of the VLS.”  Village Voice Literary Supplement, October 2001.

·       Pritchard, William.  “Nasty Reviews: Easy to Give, Hard to Take.” New York Times Book Review, May 7, 1989, 1, 36-37.

·       Prose, Francine.  “Giveaways.”  Bookend.  New York Times Book Review, August 6, 2000, 27.  Prose (rightly) complains that reviewers often reveal too much of a book’s plot, and argues that they should focus less on plot summary.

·       ------“Scent of a Woman’s Ink; Are Women Writers Really Inferior?”  Harper’s Magazine, June 1998, 61-70.  Pointing out that women writers of literary fiction receive fewer awards and less space on our review pages, Prose explores the role gender plays in how we—including book critics-- read fiction.

·       Rapping, Elayne.  “Growing Pains.”  Women’s Review of Books, November 1994, 25-26.  Rapping discusses the problem of women reviewing women’s writing, exploring the issues through her own experience as author of a controversial review of Susan Faludi’s Backlash, which appeared in The Women’s Review of Books, July/August 1991.

·       Rawlinson, Nora.  “A Change in the ‘Forecasts.’”  Editorial.  Publishers Weekly, September 25, 2000, 9.  PW Editor-in-Chief explains the new thrust of PW reviews, which will overall pay more attention to the “market potential” of a book and will in some cases include a “Forecast” paragraph devoted to the work’s commercial potential.

·       ------“The New York Times Book Review Blames Publishers.”  Editorial.  Publishers Weekly, February 14, 1994, 6.

·       [“Reading and Reviewing.”  Harper’s, January 1960, 8; 10.]

·       Reno, Robert.  “What We're Reading Isn’t Literature.”  Newsday, February 22, 2002.

·       “Reviewing, Reviewers, Authors, Publishers, and Censorship.  Review of Contemporary Fiction, Summer 1997, 251-264.  After rejecting a review by Brooke Horvath of Doug Rice’s Blood of Mugwump, the editor of The Review of Contemporary Fiction, John O’Brien, agreed to print the review along with responses from the reviewer, the author, the book’s publisher, and O’Brien, all of which appear here.

·       Reviewing the Reviews: A Woman’s Place on the Book Page.”  Written and edited by Women in Publishing.  London: Journeyman, 1987.  This analysis of the amount and kind of attention women receive on the book pages of English publications—both as authors and as reviewers—is based on statistics gathered from monitoring 28 publications in 1985.  In the first part of the book, the authors present the results of their study, which show a clear indication of gender bias; in the second, to put these “figures into context,” they focus on the reviewing process, examining the roles and views of publishers, literary editors, booksellers, librarians, and authors.

·       Rich, Motoko.  “Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?” New York Times, May 2, 2007, B1, B7.

·       [Riley, Mary Ann.  “Book Reviewers: Lovers Not Lions.”  Harper’s, June 1974.]

·       Rivers, William L.  Writing Opinion: Reviews.  Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1988.  Book designed to show the “tasks of a reviewer” addresses reviewing in various fields.  Chapter 5 focuses on book reviews.

·       Rogers, Pat.  “Just a Hint of Scandal.”  New York Times Book Review, [February 7, 1971.]

·       Romano, Carlin.  “Extra! Extra! The Sad Story of Books as News.”  Media Studies Journal, Summer 1992, 123-131.  “‘In the good old days people knew the value of books,’” complains the author, literary critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Not anymore, if the amount and quality of attention they receive from newspapers are any indication.  Why does the press ignore books?  Jealousy, insecurity, myopia and archaic news values.”

·       Rose, M. J.  “Book Reviews Find Homes on the Web.”, May 14, 2002.

·       Ross, Alan.  “Successful Failures.”  Review of Clever Hearts: Desmond and Molly MacCarthy: A Biography, by Hugh and Mirabel Cecil.  Times Literary Supplement, July 20-26, 1990, 770.

·       Rubin, Joan Shelley.  The Making of Middlebrow Culture.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.

·       Russo, Maria.  “When Authors Attack.”, March 2, 2001.

·       Ryan, Mary E.  “My Say.”  Publishers Weekly, 70.  Column recommends that authors not respond to bad reviews.

·       Safire, William.  “Blurbosphere.”  On Language.  New York Times Magazine, May 1, 2005, 26.

·       Schaffert, Timothy.  “Teresa Weaver’s View of Reviews.”  Poets and Writers, September/October 2007.  The firing of Teresa Weaver, books editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, led to angry letters and triggered the National Book Critics Circle’s Campaign to Save Book Reviewing.  In this brief interview, she expresses her belief in the importance of local reviewing.

·       Schickel, Richard.  “Not Everybody’s A Critic.”  Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2007.  In this brief article, Schickel, a film critic and frequent reviewer, contrasts reviewing and blogging.

·       Schindler, Paul.  “The Bigot Disguised as a Dandy.”

·       Schlachter, Gail.  “Reviewing the Reviewers.”  RQ, Summer 1988, 468-70.  Focusing on reference reviewing, Schlachter—a reference librarian, reviewer, author, and book publisher—says that our reviewing tools seem inadequate and suggests ways to improve the reviewing process.

·       Searing, Susan.  “What Librarians Read.”  Women’s Review of Books, February 1995, 11-12.  A librarian discusses the importance of reviews for librarians.

·       See, Lisa.  “The Great L. A. Poetry Battle.”  Publishers Weekly, May 29, 1987, 52.  Article discusses changes at the Los Angeles Book Review and the controversy sparked by one particular change: the decision to reduce the number of poetry reviews and use the space to publish poetry.

·       Sexton, David.  “Read Any Good Books Laterly?”  Evening Standard, February 24, 2003.  Brief article, triggered by the incorrect review of The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk in the New York Times Book Review, focuses on the reviewer’s obligation to actually read the book under review.  (For another article on this review, see Conason, Joe,  “The Woman Who Couldn’t Read.”)

·       Shafer, Jack.  “Fair is Square: The case for hiring biased book reviewers.”  Press Box., August 12, 2005.

·       Shaw, David.  “Papers’ Stepchild: Reviewing Books.”  Los Angeles Times, December 11, 1985; “Power, Fear of N.Y. Times Book Review.  Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1985; “Choosing the Best of the Book Reviews,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1985.

·       Sheed, Wilfrid.  “The Art of Reviewing.”  The Good Word and Other Words.  New York: Dutton, 1978.

·       ------“Men’s Women, Women’s Men.”  The Good Word and Other Words.  New York: Dutton, 1978.

·       ------“The Politics of Reviewing.”  The Good Word and Other Words.  New York: Dutton, 1978.

·       Sheehan, Donald.  This Was Publishing: A Chronicle of the Book Trade in the Gilded Age.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1952.  See esp. Chapter 8.: The Assault on the Consumer.  (Also: The Business of Publishing)

·       Shields, David.  “Using Myself.”  In Enough About You.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002.

·       Shulevitz, Judith.  “The Best Revenge.”  The Close Reader.  New York Times Book Review,  June 17, 2001, 31.  Back-page essay about writers getting back at their reviewers, through essays (Tom Wolfe, “My Three Stooges”) or fiction (Philip Roth’s The Anatomy Lesson), discusses essay in Brill’s Content by James Atlas about reviews of his biography of Saul Bellow.

·       Simon, Rita James and Linda Mahan.  “A Note on the Role of Book Review Editor as Decision Maker.”  Library Quarterly,  October 1969, v. 39, no. 4.  Study surveys editors of major social science journals to find out “Who will review which book at what length, at which location in the journal.”

·       Sinkler, Rebecca Pepper.  “Picks, Pans and Fragile Egos.”  Civilization, July/August 1995, 48-53.

·       Smart, Gary H.  “Book Reviewing in American Magazines.”  Journalism Quarterly, Autumn 1964, 583-585.  A survey of book publishers to determine which magazine book sections are most influential.

·       Smith, Jordan Michael.  “Critical Condition.”  Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 2010, 60-61.  Subtitled, “Can a retailer-sponsored book review keep its critical hands clean?”, this article takes a brief (and somewhat unsophisticated) look at contemporary reviewing and the ethical issues raised by Barnes and Noble’s online book review. 

·       Stevens, George and Stanley Unwin.  Best-Sellers: Are They Born or Made?  London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1939.

·       [Stevenson, Matthew Miller.  “The TBR: Selling Space.”  Harper’s, March 1981.]

·       Stroh, Michael  “You Be the Critic.”

·       Sutherland, John.  “Mightier Than the Sword.”  Guardian Unlimited Books, December 9, 2002.

·       ------“john sutherland is SHOCKED BY THE STATE OF book-Reviewing on the web.”  UK Telegraph,, November 19, 2006.

·       Swinnerton, Frank, with notes by Frederic Melcher.  Authors and the Book Trade.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1932.  Swinnerton, a writer, publishers’ reader, and reviewer, provides a brief overview of publishing in England, with lively discussions of the players and the problems.  Melcher, in his brief notes, compares the situation in the United States.  Chapter 8, “Reviewers,” considers such problems as  literary cliques, the Book Talks on the B.B.C., and the ‘star’ reviewers, and offers suggestions for some improvements in the field.

·       ------The Reviewing and Criticism of Books.  The Ninth Dent Memorial Lecture.  London: J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1939.

·       Taylor, D. J.  “The Last Writes.”  New Statesman, October 8, 2009.

·       ----- “Pleasing Themselves.”  New Statesman, December 17, 2001, 116.  Taylor surveys several collections of literary journalism (Frank Kermode’s Pleasing Myself, Michael Hofmann’s Behind the Lines, Clive James’s Reliable Essays,  J. M. Coetzee’s Stranger Shores, Peter Ackroyd’s The Collection, and D. J. Enright’s Signs and Wonders), commenting briefly on different approaches to reviewing and the pitfalls of collecting old reviews.

·       Taylor, Jonathan.  “Reviewers Who Love Too Much: A Critic Calls It Quits.”, March 18, 1999.

·       Teachout, Terry.  “The Contrite Critic.”  Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2002.

·       Thatcher, Sanford G.  “A Call for a UP Review Medium.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, December 28, 1992, 80.  Thatcher points out that university press books are increasingly available in the new superstores but unless we have media that will review them for a general audience, their availability will not increase sales.  Since our current mainstream review media ignore these titles, he calls for a monthly nonspecialist review that would concentrate on “the front list of university presses and titles of similar nature published by commercial houses.”

·       Thompson, Charles Miner.  “Honest Literary Criticism.”  Atlantic Monthly, July 1908, 179-190.

·       Tickle, Phyllis.  “Raising the Brown Curtain.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, June 27, 1986, 100.  Editor discusses the struggle to get work by blacks reviewed.

·       Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A.  “Scarcity of Ads Endangers Newspapers’ Book Sections.”  Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2007, B1.

·       Treglown, Jeremy and Bridget Bennett, editors.  Grub Street and the Ivory Tower: Literary Journalism and Literary Scholarship from Fielding to the Internet.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

·       [“Two Views of the Reviews.”  Harper’s, November 1959.]

·       Updike, John.  Introduction to Picked-Up Pieces.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975.

·       [“Up-to-Date Reviewing.”  Independent, December 27, 1900, 3096-99.]

·       [“Varieties of Book Reviewing.” Nation, July 2, 1914, 8.]

·       [Wagner, Geoffrey.  “The Decline of Book Reviewing.”  American Scholar,  Winter 1956-57, 23-36.]

·       Waldman, Adelle.  “Book Report: How Four Magazines You’ve Probably Never Read Help Determine What Books You Buy.”  Culturebox., September 12, 2003.  A basic description of four trade magazines: Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal.

·       Walford, A. J., Editor.  Reviews and Reviewing: A Guide.  London: Mansell Publishing Ltd., 1986.  (Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1986.)  A collection of essays that “aims to provide guide-lines for the reviewing of books and audiovisual materials in a variety of disciplines.”  Part 1: “Overview” offers two essays: “The art of reviewing” and “The administrative role of the book-review editor”; Part 2: “Specialized Reviewing” offers twelve essays focused on specific fields, including reference books, religion and philosophy, the social sciences, medicine, and music.  Appendices include a “Select list of indexes to reviews” and a “Select and annotated bibliography.”

·       Walker, Scott.  “A Review in the Times?! Oh, No!”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, October 11, 1993, 45.  A publisher complains that late reviews, appearing after bookstores have returned the books and book publicity has ended, do not serve readers, bookstores, or publishers well.

·       Wasserman, Steve.  “Goodbye to All That.”  Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 2007.

·       Weber, Katharine.  “The Reviewer’s Experience.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, February 15, 1993, 248.  A reviewer’s (not-very-high) opinion of the promotional material publishers send along with bound page proofs or “galleys.”

·       Weinberg, Steve.  “Assigning Book Reviews: A System in Need of Repair.”  National Book Critics Journal, August 1993, 1-2.

·       ------“The Kitty Kelley Syndrome.”  Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1991, 36-40.

·       ------“The Unruly World of Book Reviews.”  Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1990, 51-54.

·       Weisbard, Phyllis Holman.  “Reviews and Their Afterlife.”  Women’s Review of Books, January 1995, 16-17.

·       Weisberg, Jacob.  “A Hundred Years of Lassitude: Will the New York Times Book Review Bore Readers For Another Century?”  The Browser.  Slate, November 15, 1998.

·       Weschler, Lawrence.  “Raising the Noise Level of Nonfiction Collections.”  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, March 23, 1990, 57.  Author of awardwinning (but remaindered) nonfiction collection argues against the policy of book pages to ignore nonfiction collections.

·       West, Paul.  “Deep-Sixed into the Atlantic.”  Review of Contemporary Fiction, Fall 1991, 260-62.

·       ------“The Twilight Double-Header: Some Ambivalences of the Reviewer Reviewed.”  In Directions in Literary Criticism: Contemporary Approaches to Literature.  Edited by Stanley Weintraub and Philip Young.  University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1973.  West discusses reviewing, reviews he has written and received, why he reviews.

·       West, Rebecca.  “The Duty of Harsh Criticism,” New Republic, 1914, 18-20.

·       “Why Criticism Matters.”  New York Times Book Review, January 2, 2011, 9-11.  Excerpts from essays on criticism written by six writers—Stephen Burn, Katie Roiphe, Pankaj Mishra, Adam Kirsch, Sam Anderson, and Elif Batuman.

·       Williams, Jay, Philip Thody, Gladys Schmitt, William J. Newman and Wallace Stegner.  “Reviewing the Reviewers.”  American Scholar, Winter 1961-62, 128-42.

·       Wilmers, Mary-Kay.  “The Language of Novel Reviewing.”  In The State of the Language.  Edited by Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks.  Berkeley: University of California Press.

·       Wilson, Edmund.  “The All-Star Literary Vaudeville.”  In The Shores of Light: A Literary Chronicle of the Twenties and Thirties.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1952.  Previously published in The New Republic, June 30, 1926.  In this well-known essay, which first appeared anonymously, Wilson forcefully dismisses the judgments of contemporary reviewing, which, he says, can scarcely be distinguished from advertising, and presents his own assessment of contemporary writers.  Although Wilson’s assessments include a section on critics, only the opening pages of the essay focus on reviewing.

·       ------“The Critic Who Does Not Exist.”  In The Shores of Light: A Literary Chronicle of the Twenties and Thirties.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1952.

·       ------“The Literary Worker’s Polonius.”  In The Shores of Light.: A Literary Chronicle of the Twenties and Thirties.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1952.

·       Winters, Stanley B.  My Say.  Publishers Weekly, April 26, 1985, 92.  The editor of a scholarly journal complains, with dry humor, about the tardiness of reviewers.

·       Wolfe, Tom.  “My Three Stooges.”  In Hooking Up.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.  Wolfe attacks three critics of his novel, A Man in Full—John Updike, Norman Mailer, and John Irving (“three famous old novelists rousing themselves from their niches in literary history to declare a particular new novel anathema”)—and goes on to discuss his view of contemporary fiction and its problems.

·       Wolper, R. S.  “‘A Grass-blade’: On Academic Reviewing.”  Scholarly Publishing, July 1979, 325-28.  “An editor reviews reviewers, and finds them wanting.  Not only do they omit data and ignore house style; too often they are insensitive to language.”

·       Woodcock, George.  “The Critic as Mediator.”  Scholarly Publishing, April 1973. 201-209.

·       Woodward, Richard B.  “Reading in the Dark: Has American Lit Crit Burned Out?”  Village Voice Literary Supplement, October 1999.

·       Woolf, Virginia.  “Reviewing.”  Hogarth Sixpenny Pamphlets, No. 4.  London: The Hogarth Press, 1939.  Focusing only on the reviewing of “imaginative literature—poetry, drama, fiction,” which she contrasts with the reviewing of nonfiction and distinguishes from criticism, Woolf examines the field and finds it so unsatisfactory that she recommends abolishing such reviews.  She suggests replacing reviewers of creative work with private consulting critics, who would work with authors.  Editors could then replace reviews with essays and criticism.  In a Note appended to the pamphlet, Leonard Woolf disagrees with his wife’s extreme position, arguing that reviews are necessary, “to give readers a description of the book and an estimate of its quality in order that he may know whether or not it is the kind of book which he may want to read,” and for selling books.

·       Wyatt, Edward.  “An Honest Book Review From Kirkus? Only $350.”  New York Times, October 5, 2004, B1.

·       Wyatt, Robert.  “Book Page Editor Blues.”  Publishers Weekly, September 21, 1984, 28-30.  In a survey of newspaper book page editors, Wyatt discovers that “most of them find it too hard to get needed review copies on time—and too easy to get useless releases and unreviewable books.”

·       Yagoda, Ben.  “Michiko Kakutani: A Critic With a Fixation.”, April 10, 2006.




This is a bibliography-in-progress and I welcome your comments, questions, corrections, and suggestions. 

Please send correspondence to: Gail Pool