Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

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Brillo Books

“In The Universe of Click it’s more important to have someone saying ‘I loved it!’ than ‘The notion intrigued me, but I was unmoved by the pleonastic ramblings on page 94.’ A review is somehow less decisive than the perception that someone has liked something and passed it on to friends and acquaintances on Limped-In, Face-Schmuck, Mumbler, and Fritter…”


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One book review? That'll be $99.00, please.

What’s wrong with these two sentences? We will keep the book in our stacks for another two weeks. If you decide to order a review after that time, we will ask you to send another copy. That’s from an email Chad Post of Three Percent received recently from ForeWord Reviews. Yes, you read that right: “if you decide to order a review.” ForeWord Digital Reviews, as the email explained, charges authors to have their books reviewed: Digital Reviews is our new review service for books that meet our standards for worthy books, but which we can’t cover in our print […]


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The "Nice" Review

Are book reviews useful if they’re… well, nice? Two of the biggest names in reviewing, Janet Maslin and Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times, are known for delivering smarting critiques of the titles that cross their desks. Kakutani is so infamously harsh that an essay on The Millions came up with a term for her brand of criticism: the Kakutani two-step. But some book reviewers take a different tack. Author Ben Winters explained why he gives everything five stars on sites like Goodreads: The problem isn’t that “amateurs” are doing the reviewing: the opinions of regular old readers or […]


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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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Critics on Criticism

Criticism has never been an easy field, but now there’s a new risk: legal action. New York University law professor Joseph Weiler is being sued for running an negative book review. Writes Weiler: Last week, for the first time I found myself in the dock, as a criminal defendant. The French Republic v Weiler on a charge of Criminal Defamation. […] As Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law and its associated Book Reviewing website, I commissioned and then published a review of a book on the International Criminal Court. It was not a particularly favorable review. You may […]


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Gender Disparities in Reviewing (and Essaying, and Interviewing)

Recently, I wrote about literary cameos on The Simpsons. In response, Charlotte wondered, “Are they tweaking on the Franzen gender controversy by only having literary cameos by men?” This is a timely question. A recent study by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts showing that male writers vastly outnumber female writers at many major literary magazines—as writers, reviewers, and review subjects. The New Republic, startled by this disparity, did some number-crunching and found that publishers also publish fewer books by women than men: In fact, these numbers we found show that the magazines are reviewing female authors in something close to […]


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Reviews from the Younger Set

Here at Fiction Writers Review, many of our contributors are emerging writers, so we love sites that encourage those early in their writing careers. Recently I heard of a few sites that encourage those really early in their writing careers: kids and young adults. On The Huffington Post, Monica Edinger, a teacher at New York’s prestigious Dalton School, writes about an afterschool book blogging club she and several other instructors founded: Every week these literary enthusiasts come to my room; sift through my books and advance reader copies; choose to read whatever catches their fancy; and, after reading them, write […]




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