How To Be A Book Critic By Reading Fast, Or Something Like That

August 2nd, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Though we can sometimes be rough on reviewers, we do understand that they have tough jobs. Sure it’s reading, but it’s reading for work. Suddenly the choice is less what do I want to read, and more what do I have to read. Also, it is a well-known* fact that authors don’t say things nearly as well as the reviewer could.

MediaBistro’s Toolbox , which is fast becoming an essential resource, takes on the wild world of reviewing, talking to Lizzie Skurnick (The Old Hag, among other publications) and Maud Newton, among other publications).

Lizzie’s take on reviewing:

The worst is when you’re reading a book you’d normally toss to the side after three sentences. I don’t mean a mediocre book or a book that doesn’t grab you completely, I mean a fully why-did-they-publish-this-five-monkeys-typing kind of manuscript. If I’m judging a contest, I’ll throw those to the side with the justification that if I can’t stand it for thirty pages, it’s automatically lost the battle already. But for a review, there’s no escape, and it’s TORTURE.

While Maud supports a habit that the mother swears is bad, really bad, bad enough that we should have been given to another mother:

I always read the whole book before I start writing a review. I take notes in the margins while reading, and fold down pages to mark things I particularly want to remember. And once I start the review, I usually end up reading the book — or at least major sections of it — again.

* – Stop already. We made that up.

File Under: Square Pegs