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Seven Deadly Words of Review Writing :: Bob Harris

On March 25, 2008, Bob Harris, on New York Times “Paper Cuts: A Blog About Books” posted his contribution, “Seven Deadly Words of Book Reviewing.”

Before listing his words and explaining their “deadliness” he comments: “Like all professions book reviewing has a lingo. Out of laziness, haste or a misguided effort to sound ‘literary,’ reviewers use some words with startling predictability. Each of these seven entries is a perfectly good word (well, maybe not eschew), but they crop up in book reviews with wearying regularity. To little avail, admonitions abound. ‘The best critics,’ Follett writes, ‘are those who use the plainest words and who make their taste rational by describing actions rather than by reporting or imputing feelings.'”

Better still, in the five days the post has been available, over 100 readers have commented with their own contributions to the list. Some offer explanations, some don’t need to. It’s a rollicking good read. Oh, wait, that’s on the list…

Spread the word!