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







This is a web site about book reviewing.  I started it to introduce my book: Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America, and if you click on the book’s title (here or on my home page), you’ll find a description of the book, a table of contents, and links to many of the reviews the book has received.  But I’ve since expanded the site to include a Bibliography of Book Reviewing, which I thought readers might find useful, and a page of Quotations About Book Reviewing, which I thought readers might find entertaining.  I’ve also added a brief biographical note, with links to some of my earlier essays on reviewing. 


Faint Praise, published in 2007, is a critique of traditional reviewing: its virtues, its problems, and its failings.   I wrote the book to address many issues in the field I believe are too often overlooked.  These range from the selection of books chosen to be reviewed (why these?), to the choice of reviewers to critique them (why them?), to the kinds of criticism we get (most especially, why so much praise?).


Readers depend upon reviews.  Writers do as well.  My aim has been both to take readers behind the scenes of reviewing so that they can better assess the opinions they’re getting, and to provoke critics and editors into improving a field that is much in need of improvement.  As reviewing moves online, this is precisely the time to evaluate the book reviewing we have had and aim for something better. 


I welcome your thoughts, queries, and criticism—please send them along:  Gail Pool.