Book news, reviews, and author interviews

Plus blogs, links to author interviews, resources for critics and book reviewers
Interesting author profiles and interviews
Venues for author interviews, webcasts
Author interviews, book readings, glimpses into the literary world
(podcasts and downloads for bookworms and writers, or listen online)
How and where to get reviews and publicity for a book
News, reviews and promotion for self-published books and indie eBooks
Resources for critics and book reviewers
Social networking for book lovers
(Goodreads and other book communities)
Literary magazines and journals, including lists of them
Blog roll -- good book and lit blogs
Mysteries--recommended reading sites
General links (book news, reviews; book and
reviewer blogs; resources for critics and book reviewers

Fake ("sock puppet"), not-quite-kosher, and
poison book reviews
and Amazon's response to them
Negative book reviews

With some periodicals, you may have to register to view the publication online (usually for free, except maybe for book reviews). They want the demographic information so they know where (and how old) their readers are and thus to whom their (dreamed-of) online advertisers will be able to market their wares.

Venues for author interviews, webcasts
(sites where they can be found)

Authors on Tour (Best of)
Author Webcasts (Library of Congress presents, free, the "best of the nation's authors, poets and illustrators")
Book Q&As with Deborah Kalf (author Q&As and historical factoids about books)
BookTalk Nation (works with indie bookstores to present author talks). See Information for authors.
Book TV's After Words interviews (C-Span archives)
Book Notes (C-Span Video Library archives)
Charlie Rose interviews
C-Span Video Library
Don Swain book and author interviews (Wired for Books, WOUB online, Ohio University)
GoodReads exclusive author interviews
Great Conversations (four times a year Kentucky Author Forum tapes a candid, uninterrupted hour of conversation for Kentucky's public television
Interviews with (or about) novelists and short story writers
Library of Congress webcasts of authors (, poests, and illustrators discuss their work and how they have used the Library of Congress's extraordinary resources in their work)
NPR Books author interviews
The Open Notebook (fascinating interviews with science writers about the stories behind the stories -- especially on the writing process)
PEN America multimedia archives
PEN America panels
Politics & Prose Author Event Recordings on Demand (Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington DC holds awesome author events, recordings of which you can listen to online, free--or download the mp3s and listen while you exercise)
Powell's Books Interviews
Rorotoko (archives of author interviews) author interviews
WordMothers (interviews with women)
Interviews with Authors (Barnes & Noble series), includes interviews such as the following (from a great series): David Brooks (a conversation with James Mustiche Barnes & Noble, 3-17-11)

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A few interesting
author profiles and interviews (and the like)

Donna Seaman's interview with Erik Larson (Creative Nonfiction, Issue 45, Summer 2012). In this invaluable interview Erik describes his somewhat circuitous path to becoming one of the world's most successful authors of narrative nonfiction, with excellent practical advice, about research and about the value of a well-kept chronology.
From Mormon survivalist to Cambridge Ph.D. (Amanpour interviews Tara Westover, CNN, 3-5-18)
Novelist John Le Carré Reflects On His Own 'Legacy' Of Spying (Terry Gross, Fresh Air, 9-5-17) Fascinating interview with the master of espionage novels, particularly about growing up with a single parent, his con man father, whose "great passion, which he achieved, was to turn me into a seeming gentleman."
Tru Life: How Truman Capote Became a Cautionary Tale of Celebrity Culture (Danny Heitman, Humanities, Summer 2017) 'Capote’s reputation as an off-the-cuff raconteur was, in reality, the result of careful rehearsal. According to Plimpton, he would work up a list of the stories he planned to tell before he visited admirers. “He really worked at entertaining them,” Plimpton said....In accepting an approximation of accuracy as good enough, Capote was already on the slippery slope that ended, perhaps inevitably, in the kind of lapses that now mar In Cold Blood’s reputation....Throughout his work, Capote’s prose itself remains a joy, its precision wrought from an urgency to pay attention before it’s too late.'
Lonesome Together (Drew Bratcher, Paris Review, 6-1-18) Good profile of Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and "Sunday Morning Coming Down."
Gabriel García Márquez’s Road Trip Through Alabama (Caleb Johnson, Paris Review, 2-9-18) Did his road trip from NYC to and through Alabama influence One Hundred Years of Solitude?
Ten Things I Learned from Ursula K. Le Guin (Karen Joy Fowler, Paris Review, 1-25-18) Examples: 1. "There is no reason a book of ideas can’t also be deeply moving, gorgeously written, and inhabited by people who take rooms in your heart and never move out." And 7. "Speak up for the books, poems, shows, music, and paintings you love even though you sound smarter and more discerning when you can’t be pleased."
Historian Brenda Wineapple interviews biographer Robert Caro (C-SPAN recorded at 35th Key West Literary Seminar,1-15-17). C-SPAN recorded several interviews at this famed seminar.
‘Goodnight Moon’ author was a bisexual rebel who didn’t like kids (Susannah Cahalan, NY Post, 1-7-17) A profile that makes you curious about the biography and the subject!
A Peek Inside the Mother-Daughter Collaboration That Brought Us the Little House Series (Rebecca Onion, The Vault, Slate's history blog, 4-21-14)
Playing with Time: A Conversation with Tessa Hadley ( Jane Gayduk interviews Tessa Hadley, Los Angeles Review of Books, 2-6-16) Heartening for late bloomers. She published her first novel when she was 46. She'd written plenty before that.
McMurtry in Twilight (Center and Main, 10-15-13, with Bill Marvel and others). Larry McMurtry opens up to the students in George Getschow’s Archer City Writers Workshop, a graduate class operated under the auspices of the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism. He considers his beloved novel Lonesome Dove "the “Gone With the Wind” of the West," he tells them. "I think when you boil down the Mailer-Roth-Bellow generation, there’s not much, really, that I wouldn’t call minor. I think Flannery O’Conner has the clearest claim to be more than minor." Wonderful wide-ranging chat about books and film and television. Another take: Larry McMurtry's Dream Job (Mark Horowitz, NY Times, 1997). He once tried to save the Western novel. Then he had to save himself. Now, the author of 'Lonesome Dove' and the new 'Comanche Moon' is out to save his Texas hometown -- by turning it into the world's largest used bookstore.
The Mysterious Life of David Goodis (Los Angeles Times, 2-11-15). Andrew Nette's review of Goodis: A Life in Black and White by Philippe Garnier and Eddie Muller is a fascinating profile of a preeminent noir writer of the 1940s and 1950s who became marginalized in U.S. but not in France (which was unaware he was writing for working class readers).
The Joyful, Gossipy and Absurd Private Life of Virginia Woolf (Emma Woolf, Newsweek, 2-13-15). Her volatile, mad, happy and troubled life and her strange and powerful marriage to Leonard Woolf.
Wilder Women The mother and daughter behind the Little House stories (Judith Thurman New Yorker, 8-10-09)
My Life as a Writer (Philip Roth as interviewed by Daniel Sandstrom, for publication in Swedish translation in Svenska Dagbladet and in its original English in the Times Book Review, 3-2-14)
Literary Fathers: James Jones and Andre Dubus. Interviews about them with their children, Kaylie Jones and Andre Dubus III (Open Road Integrated Media)
Literary Fathers: John Gardner, Stanley Elkin, Terry Southern, and William Styron. Interviews with Lucy Gardner Johnson, Joel Gardner, Molly Elkin, Nile Southern, and Alexandra Styron (Open Road Integrated Media)
He Gave ‘the Mundane Its Beautiful Due’ (Hermione Lee's well-written review of Adam Begley's biography and Updike's short story collection amounts to a profile)
Patton Oswalt (A Barnes & Noble conversation with Kerry Lauerman, 2-3-11, from, who has partnered with B&N for many of these interviews)
A B&N interview with Stacy Schiff (author of Cleopatra)
More to come.
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Author interviews, book readings, glimpses into the literary world

Podcasts and downloads for book worms and writers

Intelligent radio and TV talk shows (a roundup of links to all the good NPR programs, most of which have archives--or you can listen online)
Author MBA podcasts (Winning Edits site, conversations about the business of books)
Edward Champion's excellent list and descriptions of, and links to, Literary Podcasts
The Agony Column (Rick Kleffel's rich archive of reviews, especially of genre fiction
Authors in Your Pockets (iTune podcasts)
Barnes & Noble Meet the Author interviews (iTunes)
The Bat Segundo Show (quirky and thorough long-form interviews with contemporary authors, eccentric thinkers, and other assorted artists).
BBC Arts & Ideas
Between the Covers with John J. Miller (National Review)
The Book Club interviews (Sky Kirkham, Grace Nye, Amy Stevenson and Samuel Finegan) and reviews
Books on the Nightstand (illuminating conversation about books and reading)
Booktalk Nation (real-time chats with authors, brought to your living room)
Bookworm (Michael Silverblatt, KCRW, does excellent interviews with writers)
By the Book (New York Times column: Writers on literature and the literary life. See, for example, Q&As with Fran Lebowitz, Hari Kunzru, and Charles Johnson.
The Classes 25 Famous Writers Teach (Emily Temple, Literary Hug, 9-12-17) They're Not Always What You'd Expect.
Diane Rehm arts & culture programs and interviews with authors , Diane Rehm Books & Authors Interviews , but one of my favorites is her Reader Review programs (book clubs on the air)
Lewis Burke Frumkes, weekly interviews with authors
The Guardian Books Podcast (more sophisticated than most)
Key West Literary Seminar Audio archives (KWLS recordings of presentations and readings by and conversations between some of the world's most influential writers)
Library of Congress webcasts
Literary Disco (Writers talk about reading. Hosted by Tod Goldberg, Julia Pistell, and Rider Strong. Listen to over 15,000 radio shows, podcasts and live radio stations for free.)
Litopia (Litopia Writers' Colony)
Longform (a weekly conversation with a nonfiction writer about how they got their start, how they work, and how they tell stories--co-produced by Longform and The Atavist)
New Yorker fiction (a monthly reading and conversation with the New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman)
New York Review of Books podcasts
New York Times Book Review podcasts
NPR Books podcasts
NPR Author Interview podcasts
Paris Review interviews (authors discuss their life and writing in revealing conversations in The Paris Review's Writers at Work interview series--transcripts)
Paris Review interviews with fiction writers (transcripts)
Powell's Books blog (with many author interviews and talks)
Q&A (archives of C-SPAN's excellent series of Sunday evening interviews with people, often authors, who are making things happen in politics, the media, education, and science & technology in hour-long conversations about their lives and their work.) You can watch the program in real time or later and eventually there's a transcript to read online.
Reading, Technology and…Still With Us? Attention Span (Kojo Nnandi radio show, 4-22-14) Maryanne Wolf, Jamie Locke, and Maureen Corrigan discuss how technology is changing our reading brains and how we might strike a balance between types of reading at different ages. New research says skimming short items online may actually be changing our brain’s ability to digest dense, long-form writing.
Selected Shorts ( PRI’s award-winning series of short fiction read by the stars of stage and screen)
Signature, making well-read sense of the world (a Penguin-Random House newsletter, formerly Biographile). Get their free Memoir Writing Guide (PDF).

The Stitcher List of Top Shows (What the World Is Listening To Now) Discover the best of news, entertainment, comedy, sports and talk radio on demand with Stitcher Radio.
Videos, NY Times archives, 2017
Writers on Writing (archive of New York Times series, listed by authors' names)
Writers on Writing, a weekly radio program on the art and business of writing, produced and hosted by author Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, with co-hosts Marrie Stone and Nicole Nelson.

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How and where to get book reviews and publicity

and tips about book giveaways
What’s behind a recent rise in books coverage? (Sam Eichner, CJR, 12-3-18) Why is it that mainstream publications are writing more about books? Book coverage is up for the NY Times,The Atlantic, and New York, but at the Times books were covered by the business desk, the culture desk, and the Book Review. "Now, it is centralized under the stewardship of editor Pamela Paul, who attributes the change, in great part, to the growing number of online Times readers. “In a digital world, where people aren’t encountering these distinct sections of the paper in discrete parts of this physical newspaper, it becomes very confusing,” editor Pamela Paul says. “You would basically have three separate departments covering books totally independently and yet, in the eyes of most readers, in a single space....In the past, when a book came into the Book Review, the question we would ask is, ‘Does this book deserve to be reviewed? Should we review this?’” Paul says. “Now the question is, ‘Does this book merit coverage? And if so, what does that look like?’”” BuzzFeed News Books Editor Arianna Rebolini says. “As far as the online world, of course, you’re not limited, but time is. And are you going to put your time into something that’s not going to share well?” Worth reading if you want to figure out how to promote your books.
How to Get Book Reviews: The Ultimate Manifesto (Jordan Archangel Ink) How to get Amazon and other book review, how to get blogs to review your book, how to get video reviews, which book review services to use (or not), endorsements, and what not to do.
The Essential First Step for New Authors: Book Reviews, Not Sales (David Wogahn, on Jane Friedman's blog, 1-30-18) "You need third-party confirmation to attract readers. You need (positive) independent assessment to convince readers to spend money and time—money AND time."
Net Galley NetGalley was developed as an alternative to the production of paper galleys. It has become a key marketing and publicity platform for publishers and authors, offering electronic galleys to "professional readers" such as bloggers, book reviewers, booksellers, educators, journalists, and librarians.
NetGalley Book Review Program: A Case Study (David Kudler, interesting article on The Book Designer, 7-20-16) NetGalley is a book review service that connects book publishers, reviewers, media, librarians, booksellers, bloggers and educators. For this author, it was a good way to check out the cover, the way the book was pitched (it was more for middle grade than YA, and not as "action-packed" as copy suggested), and so on. Done early for a wide audience, it was a good way to get a lot of reviews.
How to Reach Book Reviewers via NetGalley (Ben Cameron, ALLi, 1-11-14) Publishers (not reviewers) pay to use NetGalley, which is more useful for genre fiction than for nonfiction. And you get honest reviews, which can be good or bad. "Your book needs to be well written, edited, formatted and have a strong cover." Plus, it has to be good to get good reviews; it can't just be pretty.
What Works and What Doesn't: Net Galley (Katie French Books) A negative experience from a writer who gave out 200 free books and got only a few reviews, not all favorable. Her advice: Be selective in who you send books to.
NetGalley Hits Pay Dirt (Jim Milliot, PW, 7-19-10)
To E-galley or P-galley: That Is the Question (Publishing Trends, 7-1-11)
Where to find online book reviewers (Sandra Beckwith, Build Book Buzz). Includes tips on where to find reviewers for self-published books.
Review Outlets (Poets&Writers Book Review Outlets database is an excellent platform for authors—from self-published independents to household names—to research and discover a spectrum of book review options)
Masterclass: How To Get Reviews – with Mark Dawson (Mark Dawson's Self-Publishing Formula, SPF-106) Listen to podcast and/​or download the transcript.
How to Get Reviews For Your Book (Without Begging, Bribing or Resorting to Subterfuge) (Kimberley Grabas, Your Writer Platform, 2-9-14). Thanks for good links, Kimberley!
Six degrees of reputation: The use and abuse of online review and recommendation systems (Shay David and Trevor Pinch, First Monday, July 2006) Will online reviewing go beyond gaming the system and become stable, reliable?
How To Get Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers To Review Your Book (Joanna Penn Creative Penn 9-16-12). Amazon has a page listing its top reviewers
4 Things You Should Know About Book Review Blogs (Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn, 12-21-16). Applies mostly to genre fiction and fiction fans.
Top 100 book review blogs (Feedspot)
The Book Blogger List
The Laws of the (Amazon) Jungle—Eight Rules Authors Need to Know to Stay Safe (Anne R. Allen)
What’s even better than a reader review? (Sandra Beckwith, Build Book Buzz, 3-17-15). Literary reviews carry more weight than reader reviews, but reviews by trusted pros at media sources still carry more weight than reader reviews.
The Review Review (Becky Tuch's guide to literary magazines and journals)

Book giveaways
How to Market a Book and Strengthen Your Author Platform with Goodreads (Kimberley Grabas, Your Writer Platform 5-3-13, with thanks for other links)
How to Conduct a LibraryThing eBook Giveaway (Shelley Hitz, The future of ink: Digital Publishing for Online Entrepreneurs, 12-6-13)
How to run your own blog tour (with giveaways) and is it really worth it (Pavarti K. Tyler, Novel Publicity & Co., 2-22-12)
Promote Your Book with Contests & Giveaways (Joel Friedlander, CreateSpace, 9-11-12)

News, reviews and promotion for self-published books and indie eBooks

A few places to start:

PW Select (Publishers Weekly's bow to self-published books).
Where to Get Self-Published Book Reviews (SPR)
The Indie Review (lists and links to indie authors, places where indie books are reviewed, and Latest Indie Book Reviews from Around the Web
How to get your self-pubbed or e-book reviewed by bloggers (Stephanie Lawton 8-18-11)
Authors Unbound (providing indie authors who epublish with events at which they share their work and connect with fans)
Indie Reader (a site that features and reviews books of indie authors)
Blue Ink Review is an example of a pay-for-your-review site. It pays reviewers $75 for a review and charges the self-published author $395 for a review (as of November 2012), or $495 for "fast track" (review to be completed in 4-5 weeks).
Kirkus Indie Kirkus Reviews has a set-up similar to Blue Ink Review, and reviews on Kirkus may be negative (that is, frank).
• Darcie Chan started word-of-mouth on her quiet novel, The Mill River Recluse (not a vampire novel or any other sensational genre), by getting the book featured on promotional sites for low-priced ebooks. After lowering the price to 99 cents and being featured (for free) on Ereader News , her sales jumped in two days to 600,000. Sites that promote low-priced eBooks (typically for a fee) include
~ Ereader News (tips, tricks, and bargain books for your Kindle)
~Pixel of Ink (free & bargain Kindle books),
~Kindle Nation Daily (free books + Kindle tips + news, commentary)
~ The Frugal eReader (frugal finds under nine for the Kindle)
~Bargain eBook Hunter (briefy traps free Kindle books)
• C. Patrick Schulze, in How to Get Your Self-Published Novel Reviewed, lists lots of places where indie books are reviewed (This Business of Writing 4-16-10).
The Best Reviews Money Can Buy (or, Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves, by David Streitfeld, NY Times, 8-25-12--note 300+ comments)
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Literary magazines and journals

Poets & Writers guide to literary magazines. Connect your poems, stories, essays, and reviews to the right audiences by researching over eight hundred literary magazines in our database. Here, you’ll find editorial policies, submission guidelines, contact information—everything you need to direct your work to the publications most amenable to your vision.
Balancing Your Submission Budget for Literary Journals (John Sibley Williams, on Jane Friedman's blog, 1-8-19) How to minimize and manage your spending on submission fees (use Paypal), maximize your profit, and identify a strategy that works for you.
Lit Mag Resources You Can’t Do Without (Jenn Scheck-Kahn on Jane Friedman's blog, 12-19-18) Jenn is founder of Journal of the Month. "Literary magazines, also called literary journals or lit mags, are devoted to short-form creative writing. What distinguishes them is what they publish (a single genre or a mix of genres), how often they publish (annually, biannually, quarterly, monthly), and their medium of publication (print only, online only, combination of print and online)." Jenn writes about identifying the best lit mags for your writing, finding magazines open for submissions, tracking submissions, and evaluating responses.
The Little Magazine in Contemporary America edited by Ian Morris and Joanne Diaz (University of Chicago Press). An anthology of interviews and essays about litmags since "the end of the ascendancy of print periodicals," by 23 editors whose magazines have flourished over the past 35 years. "...a fascinating set of responses to the two great changes in writing and reading since 1980. The first is the internet, which has given a new face to the drive of letters toward action-for-change, enabling immediate distribution of readers’ insights in answer to the work of artists—and in answer to postings by other web readers. A little magazine today can speak to audiences who never read the magazine itself; they can gather around the magazine’s comment sites for warmth, argument, and validation. The second great change in the world of letters during the past 35 years is the transformative effect of creative nonfiction as a cross-genre mode. For it has encouraged heady mixtures and a renewal of rhetorical poise in the art of many fine poets and prose writers, breathing delight into the work of making it new."--from a review by Mary Kinzie, Northwestern University
Lit Mag Submissions 101: How, When, and Where to Send Your Work (Lincoln Michel, Authors Guild) How literary magazines read submissions; the 1% rule; why submissions are rejected; preparing your manuscript (send best work, good formatting, cover letter, submitting in tiers, dealing with rejection, resubmitting after rejection, etc.
2018 Literary Magazine Rankings: Clifford Garstang's annual ratings of literary magazines in terms of Pushcart Prizes awarded for poetry, for fiction, and for nonfiction..
Where to Submit (Entropy's round-ups, by quarter) . Browse the literary magazines listed in NewPages to find short stories and longer fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, essays, literary criticism, book reviews, author interviews, art and photography. The magazine editor's description for each sponsored literary magazine gives you an overview of editorial styles—what writers they have published and what they are looking for (with contact information, subscription rates, submission guidelines, and more).
Faster Times list (Lincoln Michel's list of literary magazines that regularly publish fiction)
Pushcart Prize ranking of literary magazines (fiction) Clifford Garstang's lists at Perpetual Folly, ranked according to number of Pushcart Prizes and mentions. Here are the rankings for nonfiction and for poetry.
PEN/​O'Henry index of literary magazines
Bookfox's list of literary journals (ranked according to how many stories or mentions they've had in Best American Short Stories (BASS).
Literary Markets ranked by award anthologies (Mark Watkins' list, which includes such magazines as The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly)
Selby's List 2.0 (The Venerable List of Experimental Poetry/​Art Magazines, curated by Jon Henson
The Best Literary Magazines & Journals (
Literary Magazines, one section of 100 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers (Masters in English)

http:/​/​​wiki/​List_of_literary_magazines (Wikipedia's list of literary magazines and journals: periodicals devoted to short fiction, poems, essays, creative nonfiction, book reviews and similar literary endeavors which have published each year for ten years or more)
Canadian literary magazines (Wikipedia's list)
VIDA (Women in Literary Arts provide counts, demonstrating how much men are favored over women in the literary world). See, for example, Lie by Omission: The Rallying Few, The Rallying Masses. "The Paris Review’s numbers, previously among the worst in our VIDA Count, have metamorphosed from deep, male-dominated lopsidedness into a picture more closely resembling gender parity."
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Resources for critics and book reviewers (and, in reverse, for authors)

Should Critics Aim to Be Open-Minded or to Pass Judgment? (NY Times Book Review, 8-29-17) In Bookends, Thomas Mallon and Liesl Schillinger discuss what the best (and worst) criticism does. "The simplest prescription for better criticism of all kinds — electronic, journalistic, academic — remains: read more; think longer; write less."
The Craft of Criticism. In this excellent Q&A series, members of the National Book Critics Circle ask book critics and review editors for their thoughts about contemporary criticism
How a Critic Opens a Book: A Q&A With Parul Sehgal (Stephen Hiltner, Times Insider, NY Times, 9-27-17) The Times' new book critic talks about her responsibilities to her readers, her reviewing process, and “this fantastic, fractious, quarrelsome thing known as criticism.”
• In October 2014, Penguin Random House Audio "launched an app called Volumes, offering free sample chapters, audiobook recommendations and—for journalists, bloggers, sales reps and booksellers—access to advance copies." See The Fastest-Growing Format in Publishing: Audiobooks (Jennifer Maloney, WSJ, 7-21-16)
National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Check out NBCC's blog, Critical Mass, its podcasts, and the archive of NBCC newsletters, 1975 on, full of history and sometimes drama. (Read and/​or hear Toni Morrison's speech (March 2015) on accepting the NBCC's Ivan Sandrof award for lifetime achievement. It's a mini-history of NBCC and a tribute to its getting books by black authors out of the black-book ghetto in bookstores.
Critical Mass (blog of the National Book Critics Circle). Links along the lower right side take you to many of the major book review and author interview outlets in the United States.
NetGalley "We help readers of influence discover and recommend new books to their audiences. If you are a librarian, bookseller, educator, reviewer, blogger or in the media, get started right now by signing in or joining for free." How It Works and Knowledge Base.
Book Spot
Secrets of the Book Critics (Q&A interview series on Literary Hub) Questions often asked: What classic book would you love to have reviewed when it was first published? What unheralded book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to? What is the greatest misconception about book critics and criticism?How has book criticism changed in the age of social media? What critic working today do you most enjoy reading?
Entertainment Weekly‘s David Canfield on Zora Neale Hurston and the Critic as Curator (Literary Hub, Secrets of the Book Critics, 1-17-18). Much of the job of criticism is curation. "The job is nearly as much about asserting the importance of different genres, different voices, and different styles as it is about assessing the quality of a particular work."
Sam Sacks of The Wall Street Journal (Secrets of the Book Critics, LitHub, 9-27-17) "I think there is a feeling that criticism today just refers to the melee of personal opinions that can be found in print and especially online....critics are responsible for more than naming their likes and dislikes. They are writing in service of a larger idea of literature."
The New Republic Literary Editor Laura Marsh on the Ecosystem of Different Tastes (LitHub, 10-25-17 "There are a couple of writers I go back to periodically to remind myself of what criticism can do: Terry Castle’s essay on Susan Sontag, right after she died, the essays in Vivian Gornick’s The End of the Novel of Love , and (if I’m allowed) the late Jenny Diski’s writing in the London Review of Books."
How To Be a Paid Book Reviewer - In Six Easy Steps (Allena Tapia, The Balance, 11-12-17)
The Critical I: Conversations With Critics and Review Editors (Critical Mass, NBCC, an interesting series of conversations with book review editors and critics, 2007-2009)
Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth by A.O. Scott. ( Here's a charming review by Willard Spiegelman: Everyone's a Critic (Wall Street Journal, 2-10-16)
Complete Review (links to 242 book review sites, in English and in other languages). Also, links to literary blogs and general literary sites.
Critical Outtakes: Discussions with Writers
The Next Decade in Book Culture (Critical Mass, NBCC, an interesting series about the state of literary criticism, the critic and the Internet, and so on, 2009-2011)
A Critic’s Manifesto (Daniel Mendelsohn, Page-Turner blog, On books and the writing life, New Yorker, 8-28-12) He argues in this essay that all criticism is based on this equation: KNOWLEDGE + TASTE = MEANINGFUL JUDGMENT.
Against Enthusiasm: The epidemic of niceness in online book culture. (Jacob Silverman, Slate Book Review, 8-4-12)
Ethics in Book Reviewing Survey: The Results ("Critical Mass," National Book Critics Circle, posted 12-11-07). Among issues NBCC members discuss here and elsewhere on their website: the appropriateness of selling one’s review copies, favoritism by reviewers toward particular publishing houses, how honest a reviewer must be in what she or he writes, the propriety of review organs linking up with book sellers, the appropriateness of reviewing a book for which you provided an unpaid blurb, whether someone mentioned in the acknowledgments should be barred from reviewing a book.
The Ethics of Book Blurbing: What’s OK and What’s Not? A Survey (Janice Harayda, One-Minute Book Reviews, 5-14-13)
The Graying of 'The New York Review of Books' ( Russell Jacoby, Chronicle of Higher Education, 6-2-14)
The Future of Book Reviews: Critics vs. Amazon Reviewers Top critics Morris Dickstein and Cynthia Ozick debate who are truly the book critics today (hint: Amazon reviewers) and what this means for reviewing. Jane Ciabattari reports. (The Daily Beast
Amazon reviewers think this masterpiece sucks (Jeanette Demain, Salon, 4-2-10). From "The Grapes of Wrath" to "1984" -- some amateur critics just can't stand the classics
Why Jennifer Weiner Is Wrong About the Times Book Review (Christopher Beha, Slate Culture Box, 9-12-13). It doesn’t need to review more popular fiction. Or lit fiction, either. It needs to review holy crap fiction.
Hatchet Job of the Year Award (The Guardian's annual celebration of bookish snark)
How to Get Book Reviews: 50+ Resources to Generate Book Reviews (Nonfiction Authors Association)
BookSneeze: Free Books for Bloggers (Michael Hyatt)
So, You Want to Review Books? Faithful Bloggers. See also Review a Book for BookSneeze
Booklook Bloggers
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Social networking for book lovers

(book discovery and communities)

LibraryThing (enter what you're reading, or your whole library--and connect with people who read what you read--1.5 million people discuss and catalog books, find book reviews)
GoodReads (a popular site for rating and commenting on books,for keeping track of what you read, and would like to read--or forming a book club, answering trivia, or collecting your favorite quotations--plus some giveaways) See Penny Sansevieri's How To Maximize Goodreads Giveaways.
Shelfari (another popular site for rating and commenting on books -- a community-powered virtual bookshelf, to display your favorite books and connect to people who love to read what you love to read)
BookCrossing (a popular book sharing site, with some paid features, including book tagging: You register a book, get a Bookcrossing ID, use that to physically tag a book, and release it (e.g., leave it in a coffee shop or on the subway). The person who finds the book you set free can register it, so you can follow where it travels)

Bookish (discover books you might like: giveaways, recommendations, exclusive author content, etc.)
BookMooch (Give books away. Get books you want.)
Book Movement (reading guides, reviews, a community)
Comic Book Resources (a community and resource for comic book lovers)
Bookperk. HarperCollins' site offers perks for "insiders."
inReads (WETA, DC's public television affiliated, launched inRead 6-22-11, in Beta). Lets users converse about books, read reviews and get recommendations. Read (PW account here.
Kobo's Reading Life. Explore. Unlock. Share.
Nook Friends (Barnes & Noble site for Nook readers)
Overbooked. Timely information about fiction, all genres, and readable nonfiction, plus Overbooked Scoops (curated by Ann Chambers Theis). Starred review lists include books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW)
PaperBack Swap (a paperback book sharing service and community)
Revish (a book rating community)
Scribd (pronounced "skribbed") may be the largest book club in the world--on many topics
Wattpad (an eBook community). Fiction-oriented. Read stories. Vote for your favorites. Create a library.

31 Bookish, Brainy, Beautiful Blogs for Readers (Tracy O'Neill, NY Public Library)
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Blog roll -- good book and lit blogs and online magazines

Arts & Letters Daily
Asylum (John Self's Shelves)
Book Dwarf (Megan Sullivan, head buyer at Harvard Book Store, thoughtfully reviews books)
Book Slut (Jessa Crispin, reviews, feature stories, interviews, and other book-related content)
Book Square (dissecting the publishing industry with love and skepticism)
Critical Mass (The National Book Critics Circle, or NBCC -- conversations about literature and literary criticism) Has an excellent blog roll.
Dear Reader (Suzanne Beecher's online book club). She's profiled here by Bill Duncan.
A Commonplace Blog (D.G. Myers, whose credits include the much-discussed blog article The most overrated novel ever (Beloved by Toni Morrison)
The Guardian Books blog (books in UK and beyond)
Ju's Reviews (love these short, grumpy reviews by Julia Sandford-Cooke)
Juxtabook (books, book buying, book selling, book dealing, reading, reviews, libraries, literacy, education, teaching English Literature and all matters bookish)
Lambda Literary (featuring LGBTQ literature)
Literary Hub (book excerpts, essays, reviews, etc. -- a rich hub for book lovers)
The Literary Salon (at The Complete Review)
Maud Newton
The Millions (an online magazine offering coverage on books, arts, and culture). Purchased by PW: PW Takes Over the Millions (Jim Milliot, PW, 1-3-19)
New York Public Library blog and its various blog channels
OnFiction (An Online Magazine on the Psychology of Fiction)
Page Turner (New Yorker) Criticism, contention, and conversation about books and the writing life. Reviewed by the Daily News.
The Paris Review Daily
The Reading Experience (Daniel Green) See, for example, Literary Blogs.
ReadySteady Book for literature
The Rumpus
The Shatzkin Files (Mike Shatzkin, Idea Logical Company, a publishing futurist who writes interesting analyses of the shift toward digital publishing and where book publishing is headed)
Publishers Lunch (the publishing industry's daily essential read, free) and if you $subscribe to Publishers Marketplace you can read Publishers Lunch Deluxe
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (reviews of romance novels)
So Many Books (Stephanie, in Books, Rambling)
Stump the Bookseller (Loganberry Books' blog tries reconnect people to the books they love but can’t quite remember)
Three Percent (University of Rochester blog for international literature)
Some Choice Book Blogs (Cynthia Crossen, WSJ, 11-13-09)
The Book Trib (an aggregator of all the best book-related blogs
25 Best Literary Criticism Blogs (, a resource for students pursuing a masters degree)
31 Bookish, Brainy, Beautiful Blogs for Readers (Tracy O'Neill, NY Public Library)
The Best Literary Fiction Blogs & Websites (Jane Friedman)
More to come!
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Audio Books (formerly books on tape, but CDs and digital downloads are taking over the market)
I am a huge fan of audio books, which have become something of an art, with the best readers almost acting the parts of various characters. Listening to an audiobook is a different experience from reading the book yourself, and is especially a pleasure with fiction. I typically check my audiobooks out of the local public libraries in Montgomery County, Maryland, which have a pretty good selection--and you can reserve titles--which means waiting in a queue for the very popular titles, but that works for me.
Audie Winners (2001 on, along right -- recordings awarded best narration etc.--a good list from which to check out recordings from library)
AudioFile (review magazine/​website for those who love audio books, with features on "Golden Voices," the best narrators)
The Listener (Salon's audiobook review column, featuring Laura Miller)
Books for Ears (see review archive and
reviews of best audiobooks./a>
Reviews of the top ten audiobook websites
Audible Yahoo Group (consumer discussion group sponsored by, but not limited to Audible titles)

The Author's Bookshelf (Strand Bookstore). Aa selection of must-reads from a few of the Strand's most beloved authors and artists.

Back From the Dead: The State of Book Reviewing by Jane Ciabattari (The Practical Writer Sept-Oct 2011, Poets&Writers)

Biblioklept (review and discuss books and interview authors, publishers, and other book-type people)

Publishers Make a Plan: A ‘One Stop’ Book Site
(Julie Bosman, NY Times, 5-6-11). Three publishers (Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Hachette), frustrated few book buyers visit their company sites, have created, hoping it will become a destination for readers the way is for music lovers and IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Netflix are for films -- where site visitors can read recommendations, reviews, and recommendations from other readers and can buy books from the site or other retailers. (The article doesn't mention The Bookish staff will select books from 14 or more publishers.

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered. Clive James' classic poem about about literary schadenfreude, as posted by Dwight Garner on the NY Times Paper Cuts blog about books.

The Book Publicity Blog (helpful blog -- and check right-hand column for good links to blogs on books, bookstores, media, marketing, publishing, publishing houses, technology, and more)

Book Reporter

Book Reviewer Yellow Pages (scroll down for links to book reviewers who review books regularly and accept self-published and small press books)

Book reviewing panel. C-Span video of 2010 Virginia Festival of the Book panel discussion of the business of book reviews, with panelists Ron Charles, deputy editor of Washington Post Book World, David Montgomery, thriller and mystery Critic for the Daily Beast and Chicago Sun-Times, and authors Rebecca Skloot and Katharine Weber.

Book Review Podcasts. Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review, talks each week to authors, editors, and critics about new books, the literary scene, and current best sellers. The downloadable audio files are in mp3 format.

Book Reviews: Riles & Rules

Books and Beyond and other public events at the Library of Congress (Washington DC)

Bookslut (Jessica Crispin's wonderful blog)
Bookslut on crime writers
An Interview with Jessa Crispin
Jessica Crispin @​thebookslut
'I Just Don’t Find American Literature Interesting’: Lit-Blog Pioneer Jessa Crispin Closes Bookslut, Does Not Bite Tongue (Boris Kachka, Vulture, 5-3-16)

But is it well written? . In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post (2-1-13), reader Patrick Ross of Alexandria writes, "I admire The Post for continuing to review books, even after eliminating its stand-alone Book World section. But I do not understand why The Post often encourages reviews of nonfiction books that neglect a critique of the actual writing." Nowhere does one reviewer tell him if a Jared Diamond book "is a good read."

C-Span Podcasts (After Words, Washington Today, Podcast of the Week, Q and A, The Communicators, etc.)

Curled Up With a Good Book. (LL writes: "highly entrepreneurial e-zine; reviewers work for free and do a good job (on the six reviews I've read so far")

DailyLit. Receive short book installments by email or RSS feed (bite-size chunks of public domain books. Read on any computer or mobile device (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.) (whenever you like). We learned of this from Cool Tools -- any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. (Thanks to Dan Curtis for this tip)

Dear Author (bloggers/​reviewers who love romance books and a smattering of other genre and nonfiction books)

Dirda's Reading Room (ongoing discussions of books, including Best Books for Scientists, Genre Books as Works of Art, Wild, Wild Western Literature, What Are Your Favorite 'Best Worst' Works of Fiction and Poetry. Older discussions here.

Does anyone want to be "well-read? by Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times 4-16-11) on changing ideas of "must reads."

The Fallen Status of Books, Hard Times for Hardcovers, by Jack Schaefer (Slate, 9-9-10).

Flashlight Worthy (Peter Steinberg and Eric Mueller provide many and various recommended reading lists on topics of interest to book lovers -- a culling of books with Amazon links)

The Future of Book Reviewing (Karen Long, Critical Mass, NBCC, 6-3-10)

How to Break into Book Reviewing (Gerald Bartell, ASJA's The Word blog 9-5-12)

In Conversation About Diversity In Hollywood, Where Does Sundance Fit In? (Monica Castillo, NPR, 2-4-16) Conversations with several filmmakers and critics of color during the Sundance film festival suggest that while Sundance could never be a silver bullet in fixing Hollywood's diversity problems, it indeed has an important role to play.

In Praise of Book Critics (Cynthia Crossen, Dear Book Lover, Wall Street Journal, 11-28-11)

Kirkus Reviews rises from ashes, tran$formed:
The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 8-29-12). An eye-opener about not only Kirkus Reviews but all those glowing reviews for new books on Amazon. (a/​k/​a Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves)
And here's a little history about Kirkus:
Nielsen folds Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews (Jim Romenesko, Poynter, 12-10-09)
Kirkus Reviews lives on. Motoko Rich reports that Kirkus Gets A New Owner — From The NBA (NY Times 2-10-10). In December he'd reported that End of Kirkus Reviews Brings Anguish and Relief • (NYTimes, 12-11-09). Starred reviews were rare; negative reviews were not. Here's the link to Kirkus Book Reviews, reincarnated.

Library of Congress resources
Center for the Book
Library of Congress Young Readers Center
Author Webcasts
Events sponsored by Center for the Book
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Books That Shaped America
Classic Books (read now, free online)

Letters of Note (letters, postcards, notes, faxes, memos that you were never intended to see)

Library Journal
LJ's most borrowed fiction list
Library Journal's Most Borrowed (Nonfiction) Books List

Library Thing (catalog your books online, connect with others who read the same books)

Literary Hub Bookshelf, the book review section of the excellent LitHub Daily

The Millions (C. Max Magee's popular online literary, arts, and culture site--good reading lists and comments)

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Mysteries -- Recommended Reading sites

Cozy Mystery List and Cozy Mystery List blog. A helpful way of presenting the lists winners of Malice Domestic's Agatha Awards (traditional mysteries that contain no explicit explicit sex, gratuitous gore, or excessive violence).
What to read in mystery and crime (Otto Penzler, Lit Hub, 3-16-16). Each month Penzler will recommend five works of mystery/​crime/​suspense fiction, new or old, "a distillation of more than a half-century of avid reading in this most distinguished literary category."
General Mystery Websites (links to sources for mystery reviews, blogs, true crime, mysteries in film and tv, etc.)
Mysteries by Location
Ann Hood's Five Pack (5 favorite modern crime fictions from the UK and Ireland)
Mystery News (good through 2009, when it ceased publication)
Mystery Reader
Mystery Scene magazine
Stop. You're Killing Me! (a website to die for if you love mysteries)
Author Links for Mystery Authors (Mainely Murders links -- a store where you can not only find a good selection but also trade in certain mysteries in excellent condition)

Articles about mysteries (general):
The guilty vicarage: Notes on the detective story, by an addict by W.H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden (Harpers, 1948)
The mystery of mysteries: What really keeps us reading (Mark Kingwell, Globe & Mail, 5-18-12)
Why Readers Read Mysteries (James N. Frey)
The Simple Art of Murder (Raymond Chandler, 1950)
The Ghost of Miss Truman, (Jon L. Breen The Weekly Standard) Did Margaret Truman write her own mystery novels or were they ghosted by Donald Bain? An interesting look at celebrity mystery authors who worked with ghostwriters, only occasionally (Peter Duchin, for example) sharing writing credits: Brett Halliday, Leslie Charteris, Ernest Tidyman, William Caunitz, George Sanders, Leigh Brackett, Gypsy Rose Lee, Helen Traubel, Steve Allen, Susan Ford, Elliott Roosevelt, and of course Margaret Truman, whose novels Donald Bain probably wrote.
Mystery Readers International (journal). Janet Rudolph, chocoholic, lists mystery readers' reading groups, mystery bookstores, mystery periodicals--and her journal issues focus on topics such as mysteries set in France, legal mysteries, shrinks and other health professionals in mysteries, animal mysteries, etc.)
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National Book Festival podcasts from the Library of Congress festival on the National Mall.
Podcasts from Bookfest 2011 (Terry McMillan, Jessica Harris, Adam Goodheart, David McCullough, Russell Banks)
Podcasts from Bookfest 2010 (Ken Follett, Jane Smiley, Anchee Min, Judith Viorst, Isabel Allende, Pat Mora, Rae Armantrout)
Podcasts from Bookfest 2009 (Julia Alvarez, Judy Blume, Michael Connelly, Junot Diaz, Gwen Ifill, John Irving, Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, Lois Lowry, Rickey Minor, Walter Mosley, James Patterson, George Pelecanos, Jodi Picoult, Jon Scieszka, Nicholas Sparks, David Wroblewski)
Podcasts from Bookfest 2008 (Louis Bayard, Jan Brett, Geraldine Brooks, Warren Brown, Joseph Bruchac, Marisa de los Santos, Kimberly Dozier, Sharon M. Draper, Arthur Frommer and Pauline Frommer, Philippa Gregory, Walter Isaacson, Brad Meltzer, Cokie Roberts, Peter Robinson, Kay Ryan, Bob Schieffer, Jon Scieszka, Michelle Singletary, R.L. Stine, Dionne Warwick)
Podcasts from Bookfest 2007 (Terry Pratchett, Maria Celeste Arrarás, Charles Simic, Rosemary Wells, Victoria Rowell, Patricia MacLachlan, Sanjay Gupta, Ken Burns, Megan McDonald, David Baldacci, Holly Black, Carmen Agra Deedy, David Wiesner, Shelia P. Moses)

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Neglected Books (where forgotten books are remembered)
Neglected Books, readers' recommendations
Neglected Books links to other sites about neglected books

New Books Network.
Discussions with authors about their new books -- a consortium of podcasts dedicated to raising the level of public discourse by introducing serious authors to serious audiences. Dozens of categories, which include:
New Books in Biography (Oline Eaton interviewing)
New Books in History
New Books in Religion
New Books in Education
New Books in Film
• and so on!

100 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers (Masters in English). Categories covered: general literature & publishing, literary magazines, book reviews, literary criticism, and book club blogs.

100 Great American Novels You've (Probably) Never Read (the book) by Karl Bridges. This pricey hardcover book is "a resource for readers of American fiction who’ve read their way through the standard canon of classics. 'One goal of this book,' Bridges writes in his Introduction, 'is to represent a wide time span–one equaling the length of American history.'' The novels listed cover a full 200 years: from Charles Brockden Brown’s Edgar Huntly, or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker(1797) to Charles T. Power’s In the Memory of the Forest (1997). You can find a list of the 100 novels on Neglected Books.

PEN America panels (transcripts)
A Conversation with Grace Paley, Margaret Atwood, and Norman Mailer (5-31-11) We protest the state of the imagination of the PEN International Congress, 1986. We protest the underrepresentation of women on the panels and in the readings.
Realms of Possibility: A Conversation with Phillip Gourevitch, Norbert Grstein, and Colum McCann (10-13-09) Says Gourevitch, to begin: "I’ve been struck over time that nonfiction writers are often treated the way photographers were treated by the great art museums and art snobs of the early or mid-twentieth century. Just as photography was not accepted as Art—with a capital A—nonfiction is still largely excluded from Literature—with a capital L."
Saul Bellow, Allen Ginsberg, Nadine Gordimer, Salman Rushdie & Others (5-31-11). Says Bellow, to begin: "There has never been much rapport between government and art in the United States. The thing was set up only, on the political level, to create a kind of democratic society in which we might do as we pleased. But there is absolutely nothing about the setup of American society which obliges the government to us in any sense in this respect."
Invisible Cities, Visible Cities (6-17=13) For many novelists, describing the city where a story takes place is as fundamental as providing a well-developed protagonist. This panel looks at how the city both limits and liberates, how it is informed by collective knowledge and individual exploration, and how, particularly in the era of globalization, it can be a place of imposing history and rapid reinvention. - See more at: http:/​/​​audio/​invisible-cities-visible-cities#sthash.UldOTThO.dpuf
Money and Translation (6-17-13)
Is there anything we can do, as writers and translators, to break the causal chain of financial influence in the U.S. reception and publication of foreign literature?
All That’s Left to You: Palestinian Writers in Conversation (video of panel discussion, 5-4-13). For the first time, PEN brings together a panel of leading Palestinian writers to talk about their place in the global literary community. From Palestine and from the diaspora, they share their work, experiences, and visions, revealing how a literature is both imagined and created under occupation, siege, and exile.
Censorship and Power in Iran (video of panel discussion, 5-17-13) PEN American Center joined with the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to host a screening of journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari’s powerful documentary film “Forced Confessions,” an exposé of the now-routine practice of extracting staged public “confessions” from political prisoners in Iran. After the film, Maziar joined Jon Stewart and CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon for a lively discussion on press freedom in Iran in the run-up to the crucial June presidential election.

Real Clear Books, links to top of the day's book reviews in various publications. See also Real Clear Politics, Real Clear Markets, Real Clear World, and Real Clear Sports.

The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell

The Revelator (John Platt's monthly column about new environmental books, an initiative of the Center for Biological Diversity, including books on wildlife, conservation, climate change, pollution, environmental history, ecotourism, sustainability, etc.

Reviewing the Reviews (Cheryl Jarvis, PW, 6-29-12) What took me aback wasn’t the criticism or the praise—everyone’s entitled to an opinion—but the shoddy journalism. The number of reviewers’ statements that were dead wrong was astonishing.

Romance Novels reviewed
For Romance Readers A blog about all things romantic in writing and reading
Romance Junkies (reviews of contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal/​futuristic, historical, and erotic romance novels)
The Romance Reader (the very latest news and reviews of romance novels)
The Romance Reviews
RT Book Reviews
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (all of the romance, none of the bullshit)

Rorotoko (Start the day smart. Cutting-edge intellectual interviews.)

Social networking for book lovers

(book communities)
LibraryThing (enter what you're reading, or your whole library--and connect with people who read what you read--1.5 million people discuss and catalog books, find book reviews)
GoodReads (a popular site for rating and commenting on books,for keeping track of what you read, and would like to read--or forming a book club, answering trivia, or collecting your favorite quotations--plus some giveaways)
Shelfari (another popular site for rating and commenting on books -- a community-powered virtual bookshelf, to display your favorite books and connect to people who love to read what you love to read)
BookCrossing (a popular book sharing site, with some paid features, including book tagging: You register a book, get a Bookcrossing ID, use that to physically tag a book, and release it (e.g., leave it in a coffee shop or on the subway). The person who finds the book you set free can register it, so you can follow where it travels)
inReads (WETA, DC's public television affiliated, launched inRead 6-22-11, in Beta). Lets users converse about books, read reviews and get recommendations. Read (PW account here.
Scribd (pronounced "skribbed") may be the largest book club in the world--on many topics
Kobo's Reading Life. Explore. Unlock. Share.
Wattpad (an eBook community). Fiction-oriented. Read stories. Vote for your favorites. Create a library.
Bookperk. HarperCollins' site offers perks for "insiders."
Nook Friends (Barnes & Noble site for Nook readers)
BookMooch (Give books away. Get books you want.)
PaperBack Swap (a paperback book sharing service and community)
Revish (a book rating community)
Book Movement (reading guides, reviews, a community)
Comic Book Resources (a community and resource for comic book lovers)
Reviews of these and other niche social networking sites (Kevin Palmer, Social Media Answers)
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So What Do You Do, Tom Lutz, Editor of Los Angeles Review of Books? Cameron Martin's interview with TL (Media Bistro, Avant Guild 10-26-11)

The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything. Linda Holmes (NPR, 4-18-11) on how, with so much music and literature out there, we can't get to it all, so we must "cull" (sort what is or isn't worth our time) or "surrender" (this goes on the list of what I won't get to).

Why Do Critics Hate Movies Audiences Love?. I like Nell Minow's title for the interesting conversation, on video, between film critic A.O. Scott and David Carr, which the NY Times calls The Sweet Spot (6-1-12). Carr emphasizes how much a bad review can hurt. Scott emphasizes how bad The Lorax was (which he called a "noisy, useless piece of junk."

Writer Races to Victory From Way Off the Pace. Novelist Jaimy Gordon was a long shot for the National Book Award for fiction, with her novel Lord of Misrule, which won. "To write a novel that was even remotely commercial...she had to get out of Providence, where even to think of such a thing was considered a sell out..." Janet Maslin describes the novel as "so assured, exotic and uncategorizable, with such an unlikely provenance, that it arrives as an incontrovertible winner, a bona fide bolt from the blue."

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Negative book reviews

Banning the Negative Book Review (Bob Garfield, NY Times, 11-29-13) How pure can a review site be that makes money through affilicate-marketing commissions from
Feeding off the trolls, or: how to profit from one’s enemies (Austin Kleon, 4-12-18) "In Plutarch’s 'How to Profit by One’s Enemies,' he advises that rather than lashing out at your enemies or completely ignoring them, you should study them and see if they can be useful to you in some way. He writes that because our friends are not always frank and forthcoming with us about our shortcomings, 'we have to depend on our enemies to hear the truth.' Your enemy will point out your weak spots for you, and even if he says something untrue, you can then analyze what made him say it."

Hatchet Job of the Year awards (
Burying the Hatchet: The Death of the Negative Book Review (Lee Siegel, New Yorker, 9-26-13) Criticism used to be socializing by other means, full of controversy and even bloodshed. But now our book reviews are not so much polite as ...“modest and generous.”
This Guy Thinks We Shouldn't Have Negative Book Reviews. Two Thumbs Down! (Isaac Chotiner, New Republic, 9-26-13)
How NOT to react to negative criticism for a self-published novel (Bi
When Book Reviews Go Bad: Negative reviews and how to cope (Carol Pinchefsky, Wizard Oil, August 2006)
How NOT to react to negative criticism for a self-published novel (Big Al's Books and Pals reviews a poorly edited novel and author melts down in public)
10 ways to deal with a negative book review (Jane V. Blanchard)
How Writers Can Benefit from a Negative Book Review (BookBaby 1-15-13)
Why Book Critics Go On for Inches (Cynthia Crossen, WSJ, 5-1-09) Why publications spend a lot of column inches on a book they think is terrible.
Why Do Critics Hate Movies Audiences Love?. I like Nell Minow's title for the interesting conversation, on video, between film critic A.O. Scott and David Carr, which the NY Times calls The Sweet Spot (6-1-12). Carr emphasizes how much a bad review can hurt. Scott emphasizes how bad The Lorax was (which he called a "noisy, useless piece of junk."
Most Negative Review Awards:
Hatchet Job of the Year (Cargo Collective). Read those reviews!
• Most negative review award (funny, but terrible for the author) goes to Lionel Shriver for Vow: A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs) by Wendy Plump (The Guardian, 3-8-13). A badly written memoir of marital infidelity has Lionel Shriver yearning for Anna Karenina. (Interesting to compare with reviews on Amazon.

Anthony Trollope on negative book reviews
(from The Way We Live Now (Chapter XI, Lady Carbury at Home)
During the last six weeks Lady Carbury had lived a life of very mixed depression and elevation. Her great work had come out, — the 'Criminal Queens,' — and had been very widely reviewed. In this matter it had been by no means all pleasure, inasmuch as many very hard words had been said of her. In spite of the dear friendship between herself and Mr Alf, one of Mr Alf's most sharp-nailed subordinates had been set upon her book, and had pulled it to pieces with almost rabid malignity. One would have thought that so slight a thing could hardly have been worthy of such protracted attention. Error after error was laid bare with merciless prolixity. No doubt the writer of the article must have had all history at his finger-ends, as in pointing out the various mistakes made he always spoke of the historical facts which had been misquoted, misdated, or misrepresented, as being familiar in all their bearings to every schoolboy of twelve years old. The writer of the criticism never suggested the idea that he himself, having been fully provided with books of reference, and having learned the art of finding in them what he wanted at a moment's notice, had, as he went on with his work, checked off the blunders without any more permanent knowledge of his own than a housekeeper has of coals when she counts so many sacks into the coal-cellar. He spoke of the parentage of one wicked ancient lady, and the dates of the frailties of another, with an assurance intended to show that an exact knowledge of all these details abided with him always. He must have been a man of vast and varied erudition, and his name was Jones. The world knew him not, but his erudition was always there at the command of Mr Alf, — and his cruelty. The greatness of Mr Alf consisted in this, that he always had a Mr Jones or two ready to do his work for him. It was a great business, this of Mr Alf's, for he had his Jones also for philology, for science, for poetry, for politics, as well as for history, and one special Jones, extraordinarily accurate and very well posted up in his references, entirely devoted to the Elizabethan drama.

There is the review intended to sell a book, — which comes out immediately after the appearance of the book, or sometimes before it; the review which gives reputation, but does not affect the sale, and which comes a little later; the review which snuffs a book out quietly; the review which is to raise or lower the author a single peg, or two pegs, as the case may be; the review which is suddenly to make an author, and the review which is to crush him. An exuberant Jones has been known before now to declare aloud that he would crush a man, and a self-confident Jones has been known to declare that he has accomplished the deed. Of all reviews, the crushing review is the most popular, as being the most readable. When the rumour goes abroad that some notable man has been actually crushed, — been positively driven over by an entire Juggernaut's car of criticism till his literary body be a mere amorphous mass, — then a real success has been achieved, and the Alf of the day has done a great thing; but even the crushing of a poor Lady Carbury, if it be absolute, is effective. Such a review will not make all the world call for the 'Evening Pulpit', but it will cause those who do take the paper to be satisfied with their bargain. Whenever the circulation of such a paper begins to slacken, the proprietors should, as a matter of course, admonish their Alf to add a little power to the crushing department.

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Fake, not-quite-kosher, and poison book reviews
Sock puppets and Amazon's mass deletion of reviews

For many of us, Amazon's value lies chiefly in the reviews posted for each title, which gives us a sense of whether to buy the book or not. That value has declined because of controversy about various kinds of "fake book reviews." Note: A sock puppet is an online persona created to disguise a reviewer's identity.
Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia (Andrew Leonard,, 5-17-13). The unmasking of a writer who took advantage of online anonymity to pursue old vendettas, creating and disposing of various sock puppet disguises and abusing Wikipedia’s policies on conflict of interest.
Anonymous revenge editing on Wikipedia – the case of Robert Clark Young aka Qworty
The Fiverr Report on Melissa Foster – Fake Reviews, Fake Awards, Fake Everything (Amazon Alert, 9-21-13). Provides a list of the top fake-review authors, including Amanda Hocking. Includes fake reviews on Goodreads, which I think Amazon now owns. The good fakers include some 1 and 2-star reviews to look credible.
Amazon Alert: Your Guide to Unethical Authors (Amazon). "Tired of fake reviews? We are too."
The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 8-25-12). "Consumer reviews are powerful because, unlike old-style advertising and marketing, they offer the illusion of truth....[Bing Liu] estimates that about one-third of all consumer reviews on the Internet are fake. Yet it is all but impossible to tell when reviews were written by the marketers or retailers (or by the authors themselves under pseudonyms), by customers (who might get a deal from a merchant for giving a good score) or by a hired third-party service." See also In a Race to Out-Rave, 5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5 (Streitfeld, 8-19-11) and Is That Review a Fake?
Update on Amazon's Disappearing Reviews: Konrath Continues Bold, Pro-Lies Stance; Amazon's Policies Clarified (Ed Robertson, Failure Ahoy! Adventures in Digital Publishing, 11-3-12). Responding to bad behavior by axing genuine reviews as well as fakes, Amazon has stirred serious criticism. Robertson points to the best summary of why Amazon is deleting so many honest reviews in Peter Durward Harris' post in Amazon forums.
The 'sock puppet' scandal: How to stop fake book reviews online (Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent, 9-6-12)
The furor over 'sock' puppet' Amazon book reviews (Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times, 9-4-12).
Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars? Amazon May Cull Your Review (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 12-22-12). Amazon's "sweeping but hazy purge [of "illegitimate reviews"] has generated an uproar about what it means to review in an era when everyone is an author and everyone is a reviewer."
Authors condemn fake internet reviews (The Telegraph, on Web abuse by writers, 9-3-12)
NI crime writers Stuart Neville and Sam Millar clash (Nuala McCann, BBC News, 9-3-12
Case Study of Paid Book Review Mill (ShelfAwareness, 8-27-12)
RJ Ellory admits posting fake book reviews over past 10 years (Andrew Hough, The Telegraph, UK, 9-4-12). Bestselling British crime writer, exposed for writing fake online reviews lauding himself while criticizing rivals, admits he has engaged in the practice for a decade. Thus begins the "sock puppet review" scandal.
RJ Ellory: fake book reviews are rife on internet, authors warn Bestselling writers Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Susan Hill, Val McDermid and Helen FitzGerald, who have collectively sold millions of novels, “unreservedly” condemned the “abuse” on websites such as Amazon, where reviews posted under “fake identities” are causing untold damage to the publishing world. Read their letter in full.
Leading academics in bitter row over anonymous 'poison' book reviews (Alastair Jamieson, The Telegraph, 4-18-10). Orlando Figes, professor of history at Birkbeck College, London, and author of a book on Stalin, has named his wife as the author of comments criticizing books written by other renowned scholars as being "dark and pretentious" and "critically dull."
Historian Orlando Figes agrees to pay damages for fake reviews on Amazon (Alexandra Topping, Guardian, 7-16-10). Historian to pay damages and costs to two rivals who launched a libel case after he posted reviews "praising his own work and rubbishing that of his rivals."

Amazon Tackles Review Problem, Deletes Wrong Reviews (Suw Charman-Anderson, Forbes, 11-7-12 )
Amazon Customer Care Droids (Johnny Be Good, Stop the Good Reads Bullies blog, 10-20-12)
Fake Reviews: Amazon's Rotten Core (Suw Charman-Anderson, Forbes, 8-28-12)
Do Consumer Reviews Have A Future? Why Amazon's Sock Puppet Scandal Is Bigger Than It Appears (David Vinjamuri, Forbes, 9-12-12). A huge controversy has erupted over the use of “Sock Puppets” – fake personas created by authors – to write phony positive reviews of their own work and attack their rivals. The controversy started at the Harrogate Crime Festival in the U.K. in July, when British crime writer Stephen Leather casually acknowledged using sock puppets to generate buzz for his books. Amazon's guidelines for creating reviews include these two rules:
--"Sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product)"
-- "Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product. This includes reviews that are a part of a paid publicity package"
Amazon Freaks Out About Sock Puppet Reviews And Deletes A Bunch Of Real Reviews (collateral damage department, TechDirt, 11-2-12). After authors freaked out about the sock puppet reviews, Amazon first revised its rules for review writing. making purchased reviews against the rules, and then deleted a lot of legitimate reviews, making it unlikely readers would post reviews in future.
Why is Amazon deleting writers' reviews of other authors' books? (Carolyn Kellogg, Jacket Copy, Los Angeles Times, 11-2-12). A writer posting a review of another author's book got this response from Amazon: "We have removed your review from .... We do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product. As a result, we've removed your reviews for this title."
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