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Posts tagged ‘Reviews and Criticism’

The Second Pass


Image by Richard Eriksson

A while back, I was musing about the future of the book review in an online world, and whether as the print forums for reviewing folded, we would see the rise of new, online forums. What I missed then was the launch of The Second Pass, a new and extremely impressive online book review which attempts to merge the best of the old with some of the new. As its editor, John Williams, explains in his Editor’s Note:

“There are many very good literary blogs out there (several of them can be found on our Links page). But most of these feature writing by one person (and perhaps an occasional guest), and, understandably, aren’t always updated daily, blogs being a full-time job for very few people. My occasional byline will be just one of many in the reviews sections: Circulating, which will review newly released titles; and The Backlist, which will focus on older, sometimes unfairly neglected books.

“The Blog will be updated several times every weekday. It will include, among other features, links to noteworthy reviews published elsewhere, great opening sentences, book covers both lovely and horrific, excerpts from books we admire, “anti-blurbs,” and roundups of what’s happening on other blogs.”

Meanwhile, for those of you after yet more writing about books, Critical Mass’ Rigoberto Gonzalez offers a list of eight blogs about books and writing he thinks are indispensable. Some, such as Maud Newton’s, are likely to be familiar, others, such as Ron Silliman’s, may be less so, but they’re all worth a look. And closer to home, Meanjin now has a blog.

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Ron Charles on book reviewing

The Washington Post’s Short Stack blog alerted me to this footage of Ron Charles accepting the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Book Reviewing at the National Book Critics’ Circle Awards earlier this month. Aside from serving as a textbook example of how to accept an award, Charles has some salutary things to say about the changing role of the critic in an age of ubiquitous opinion.

More information on Charles and the Nona Balakian Citation is available on Critical Mass, and the Washington Post’s Book World helpfully provides a digest of his reviews and articles for those interested in exploring his writing. And if you want a reason beyond his speech to warm to him, there’s always this wonderful piece about why Pottermania isn’t necessarily a sign of the health of our literary culture.

And then there’s the video:

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