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Why Book Reviewing Isn’t Going Anywhere

Why Book Reviewing Isn’t Going Anywhere. 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.

… reading, especially literary novels—which is what I focus on—has always been practiced by a really elite group of people, and these are often people who are invested in the idea of reading as a way to understand the world around us. People don’t just read reviews to find books to buy, they also read reviews to learn about what ideas are circulating in the culture.

… But to go back to the idea of authenticity and trust, this is just as much if not more of an issue for reviews on places like Goodreads and Amazon. Who is booklover123? Is it the author’s aunt? Agent? An ex-student who feels he deserved an “A”?

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