A researcher explores the future of a changing practice By Scott Nover, The American Scholar.
Now an assistant professor of sociology at McMaster University in Ontario, Chong researches how fiction book reviews come to fruition, trying to solve the puzzle of why some books get reviewed and why so many more are ignored. Her new book, Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times makes the case for the persistence of old-guard professional criticism even in the Internet age.
…It’s a really good question. No one said they were giving good reviews to really bad books, or bad reviews to really good books. It’s more a matter of degree: how much am I going to gush about a book I loved before I worry about sounding stupid and pull back, or how much am I really going to tear into a book before I worry about potential fallout and pull back. And those aren’t just questions about honesty or authenticity, it’s also about what’s the right professional tone to strike when producing cultural journalism.