Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘newspaper book reviews’

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Banana Slicers and Michael Jackson's Rapid Response Team to Media Attacks

Two years ago, I invited Charles Baxter, Stacey D’Erasmo, Gemma Sieff, and Keith Taylor to join me on an AWP panel in DC to discuss the future of book reviewing and criticism, as well as their own work with The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Harper’s, and the Los Angeles Times, respectively. It seemed a pressing question to ask at a time when newspapers were shuttering and what print publications remained were either eliminating or drastically reducing their book coverage, while at the same time the Amazon.com review was reaching near ubiquity. What would criticism look […]


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When are you big enough to handle the bad review?

Last week, a personal book-review blog called BigAl’s Books and Pals posted a review of a self-published novel by Jacqueline Howett. Howett took exception to the review and posted a series of ranting comments, eventually deteriorating into obscenities—but not before the thread had gone viral, and not in a good way. Some insist that any publicity is good publicity, but the writing blogosphere unanimously agrees that Howett shot herself in the proverbial foot with her behavior. But for writers who don’t have public meltdowns over bad reviews, is any publicity good publicity? How do bad reviews affect book sales? David […]


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Wall Street Journal to Launch Book Review Section

The news lately is almost always about book review sections folding—but the Wall Street Journal will soon be LAUNCHING a review section of its own. Reports GalleyCat: Former Atlantic editor Robert Messenger will helm a brand new pull-out book review section at The Wall Street Journal. According to the New York Observer, Messenger will edit the new section and supervise web reviews as well. Current books editor Erich Eichman will answer to Messenger as well. An internal memo projected that the section will launch sometime in September. The New York Observer sees this as the WSJ’s first salvo in a […]


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Why buy the cow?

The Los Angeles Times Book Section reported back in May that the top 10 e-books on Kindle are all free. Not surprisingly, Steig Larsson now holds the top three slots with his Millennium Trilogy, which range between $7.15 and $9.99. That still leaves plenty of free books in the top tier. The current top of the free e-book list is a debut novel, The Heir by Paul Robertson (Bethany House). It’s a page-turner, the kind of book I’ve torn through at the beach or on cold winter evenings, when it’s pitch black outside by 4 p.m. Robertson has come out […]


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Book World seeks subscribers

Lit journals fold if no one subscribes, and in the digital age, the same goes for podcasts. For the Washington Post‘s Book World series, it’s get subscribers, or get the ax. Ron Charles, deputy editor of the section, explained the dire situation in an interview with Washington City Paper: [T]he paper’s top brass have threatened to kill the section’s podcast if it can’t rally more iTunes subscribers. There’s no concrete deadline for adding more subscribers, Charles says, or even a goal for how many it needs, just “a general mandate to make sure we’re concentrating our efforts on projects that […]


Essays |

A Review of One's Own

Over the past decade, book reviews and newspaper book sections have faced, and continue to face, serious danger of extinction. Lee Thomas explores what our culture stands to lose if the edited book review is in jeopardy, positing that book lovers, writers, and critics might yet find a way to profit–rather than suffer from–the sea changes of the publishing industry and online review forums.


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Washington Post to discontinue stand-alone Book World

Sadness. Book World was one of the last remaining stand-alone book review sections in the country, along with the New York Times Book Review. The Washington Post’s move comes as the company, like most other newspaper businesses across the country, has been hobbled by a protracted downturn in advertising. […] “This is disheartening,” said Jane Ciabattari, president of the NBCC, after hearing that the section was indeed being closed. “The only good news is that books coverage continues and that the section is intact online. But the print edition of the stand alone Book World was cherished by readers throughout […]



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