book reviews

Who’s Afraid of Jennifer Weiner and Her Book Review Crusade?

This week and last, the novelist Jennifer Weiner has been rehashing an old complaint of hers: namely, that the New York Times Book Review doesn’t give writers of commercial fiction like her enough coverage. They don’t review the books enough, and they don’t hire enough commercial writers as reviewers. If you’re already wondering how such a tempest-in-a-teapot claim has inspired an avalanche of blog posts — after all, the NYTBR does seem to avoid anything smacking of so-called “chick lit” — keep in mind that every literary blogger on the planet is on a perpetual audition to write for the NYTBR. (Including this one. Hi, editor!) … Read More

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I Dream Books: A Rotten Tomatoes for Literature

Pretty much everyone we know relies on Rotten Tomatoes when deciding which movie to see, but what to do when you’re on the hunt for your next novel? Sure, you could just read whatever your best friend is reading, or pick up whatever’s on the front page of the New York Times Book Review,… Read More

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Read Some of the Meanest Book Reviews of the Year

Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending may have been one of 2011’s most acclaimed novels, scooping up the Man Booker Prize and eliciting all manner of ecstatic praise. But it didn’t impress the brilliant and iconoclastic writer Geoff Dyer, who reviewed the book for The New York Times, and found that “any extreme expression of opinion about The Sense of an Ending feels inappropriate. It isn’t terrible, it is just so . . . average. It is averagely compelling (I finished it), involves an average amount of concentration and, if such a thing makes sense, is averagely well written: excellent in its averageness!”

It’s impossible to deny the fun in reading a nasty review that also happens to be smart, lively, and hilarious. So, if you enjoyed the excerpt above, chances are you’ll love all eight pieces that made the shortlist for The Omnivore‘s first annual Hatchet Job of the Year Award, which honors what its judges deem “the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review published in a newspaper or magazine in 2011.” The winner will be announced February 7th. See who joins Dyer among the finalists after the jump, let us know which review you think is most deliciously mean. … Read More

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Judging Books That Have Been Judged By Their Covers

Design professional association AIGA just released its picks for the best book covers of the past year, which got us wondering: are the books with the nicest covers the best books? We dug up reviews of a few of them to find out. Turns out that having a good cover is a lot like being on E!’s best-dressed list after the Oscars: a cool perk, but not the same as actually winning a statue for a performance. Here are a few of the best-dressed books, with their accompany critical… Read More

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Ouch of the Day: NYT on T.C. Boyle

Michiko Kakutani calls Boyle’s new book

“a small, cheesy paint-by-numbers soap opera that manages to be pallid and gratuitously garish at the same time.”

Yikes!

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