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“Don’t go around asking the question, ‘Is this character likeable?’

Claire Messud: “A woman’s rant” [National Post] "Over the last week, discussion surrounding Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs, has shifted from the book to an interview its author recently gave to Publishers Weekly, in which Messud took issue with the following question: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 10, 2013 - 23 comments

The duty of the satirist is to go one worse than reality

Five classic book reviews from the New Statesmen archive: Including V S Pritchett on Orwell's 1984, V S Naipaul on Memento Mori by Muriel Spark and Martin Amis on J G Ballard's High Rise.
posted by thatwhichfalls on Mar 14, 2013 - 4 comments

Rewarding The Poison Pen

The Omnivore's Hatchet Job of the Year rewards "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months," with the winning critic taking home a golden hatchet and a year's supply of potted shrimp. 2013's winner: Camilla Long, for her devastating review of Rachel Cusk's divorce memoir, Aftermath. Among other things, she described it as a nasty, bizarre memoir written by a "brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2013 - 71 comments

Brilliant A+++++ would read again

The best book reviews money can buy. (SLNYT)
posted by Zarkonnen on Aug 26, 2012 - 61 comments

The story of OMG seriously?

Katrina Lumsden reads the Fifty Shades of Grey books so you don't have to:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
(contains animated gifs)
posted by Artw on Aug 5, 2012 - 189 comments

"This whole situation may well get uglier before it gets better..."

Bullying & Goodreads: "Little more than a week ago, a website aimed at naming and shaming so-called Goodreads [A kind of facebook for bibliophiles.] ‘bullies’ suddenly appeared online – called, appropriately enough, Stop the GR Bullies. Run by four concerned ‘readers and bloggers’ writing anonymously under the handles Athena, Peter Pan, Johnny Be Good and Stitch, the site thus far seems bent on punishing the creators of snide, snarky and negative book reviews by posting their handles, real names, locations and photos in one place, together with a warning about their supposed ‘level of toxicity’ and some (ironically) snide, snarky and negative commentary about them as people. There’s a lot here to unpack, but before I get started on why this is a horrifically bad idea, let’s start with some basic context."
posted by Fizz on Jul 11, 2012 - 178 comments

"Last Sunday night I spent a good five minutes lying face down on my couch..."

Thank you for killing my novel - A negative review in the NYT sparks a dialogue between an editor there and a fictional character from the book in question. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Jul 5, 2012 - 46 comments

Can I Give It -9999 Stars Instead?

The worst book that will ever exist in the history of all books! A collection of the internet's worst reviewers.
posted by kanata on Mar 2, 2012 - 68 comments

Reviews of Bad Books

Nicole Cliff has been reviewing Classic Trash fiction for The Awl, with a recent exposition on Clan of the Cave Bear. Jeffrey Sconce reviewed 100 obscure and largely unloved books last year on Consumed and Judged, and shows no sign of slowing down. Pop Sensation profiles the cover of one, generally trashy, paperback, three times a week, (and includes a seemingly random quote from the book).
posted by latkes on Feb 8, 2012 - 19 comments

The Omnivore's dilemma

The Hatchet Job of the Year Award, sponsored by The Omnivore, is looking for 'the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the last twelve months'. The shortlist includes Geoff Dyer on Julian Barnes ('excellent in its averageness'), Lachlan Mackinnon on Geoffrey Hill ('he is wasting his time and trying to waste ours') and Jenni Russell on Catherine Hakim ('if you should pass it in a bookshop, pick up a copy and drop it somewhere where nobody's likely to take an interest in it'). Mary Beard, another of the shortlisted candidates, insists that 'it's not actually a prize for skewering .. it's for honest as well as entertaining book reviewing, that isn't afraid to go beyond deference, to call a spade a spade'. [more inside]
posted by verstegan on Jan 17, 2012 - 21 comments

Let's Get Critical

Let's Get Critical is "a new Longform.org partner site dedicated to surfacing the best cultural criticism on the web."
posted by Ahab on Sep 1, 2011 - 13 comments

Myers vs. Brooks

Polysyllabic Magical Incantations. For those who enjoy vigorous criticism, a bone-crushing takedown from biologist and blogger PZ Myers of David Brooks' latest foray into belles lettres. [more inside]
posted by steambadger on Mar 4, 2011 - 34 comments

Metastasis

SffMeta - Metacritic for Science Fiction.
posted by Artw on Dec 20, 2009 - 40 comments

The Millions: The Best Book Blog, Bar None

The Millions, online since 2003, is a book blog of exceptional breadth and depth, and "an independent literature and culture publication that pays its writers." Until recently, that breadth and depth was hard to fathom, as the site had outgrown its infrastructure. Now, however, its excellent features are easy to find, as are series like The Future of the Book, Ask a Book Question, and The Millions Interview. Superb reviews can be found as they happen or in the Book Review Index, and, a vestige of when The Millions was a one man operation, you can find out what C. Max Magee, founder of The Millions, is reading on the Book Lists page. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Aug 20, 2009 - 12 comments

The Second Pass - Book Reviews

The Second Pass is an exclusively online publication devoted to reviews, essays, and blog posts about books new and old. It is updated every weekday. [via]
posted by sciurus on Mar 12, 2009 - 7 comments

'Where Forgotton Books are Remembered'

The Neglected Books Page
posted by anastasiav on Dec 5, 2008 - 13 comments

The culture writing of Adam Cadre

If you've never heard of Adam Cadre, then Adam Cadre is the best internet writer you've never heard of. He's a novelist and interactive fiction (a.k.a. "text adventure") author, but his site is packed with some of the clearest, most entertaining (and most personal) cultural writing around. It's a blog-esque sort of deal with posts prompted by films, books and other. Choicest articles include a to-the-point takedown of Stranger in a Strange Land, thoughts on Lanark and trolls who have never known love, an exegesis of the virtues of The Sweet Hereafter and the story of his near-lifelong relationship with Cosmos.
posted by colinmarshall on Oct 16, 2008 - 21 comments

Bookmarks Magazine: book reviews periodical

Bookmarks Magazine has long been one of my favorite book review periodicals because it aggregates and summarizes reviews from many sources, for example: The Children of Húrin. Recently they have opened up the back-issue archive to non-subscribers. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Apr 20, 2008 - 6 comments

the diamonds in the self-published rough

POD-dy Mouth - a blog reviewing the best of print-on-demand (self-published) books: "finding needles, discarding hay". Also with commentary on the industry itself, and great snark (1, 2). Take her quiz: can you spot the POD excerpts from the traditionally published? (Answers here.)
posted by Melinika on Aug 12, 2006 - 9 comments

"best of the worst on the best"

"This book isn't as good as Harry Potter in MY opinion, and no one can refute me. Tastes are relative!" A review of Orwell's 1984 on Amazon, from a list compiled by Matthew Baldwin at The Morning News with a selection of the funniest one-star reviews of books from Time's list of the 100 best novels.
posted by funambulist on Oct 23, 2005 - 99 comments

Book Reviews by Kids

The Spaghetti Book Club offers book reviews by kids for kids, searchable in a variety of ways. (And most of the reviews are also illustrated by the kid-authors!). One of my favorites begins: "Do you like bad ideas or thinking about them? Well, if you like bad ideas then you should read The Book of Bad Ideas. The Book of Bad Ideas is a book that has bad ideas you really shouldn't try at home. If you try them you'll be soooorrrrryyyyy! If you want to learn more about it, I'll suggest a website but I don't know any. Maybe you should read the book."
posted by taz on Mar 3, 2005 - 6 comments

Social Book Recommendation Engine

BooksWeLike collaborative book recommendations. This site was mentioned in passing in a recent MeFi thread and in this Salon article, but it deserves a moment in the spotlight of its own. A beta, it may have yet to realize its full potential in terms of features and performance, but the more people join and recommend books, the more interesting and useful the recommendations will be. It also offers links to Amazon, indie booksellers, and maybe even your local library.
posted by matildaben on Feb 16, 2005 - 3 comments

Book Review Aggregator

Metacritic Books. Metacritic has been covering reviews for movies, music, and games for years, but now has started aggregating books reviews, with about 150 books so far.
posted by driveler on Jan 3, 2005 - 13 comments

I vant to... buy you an enter key.

You're all dummies and you're reading it wrong! Anne Rice's latest book has gotten some crummy reviews on Amazon, and she's seriously POed that the "outrageous stupidity" of the proles allowed to review on the site are tarnishing one of her her editor-free "virtuoso performance(s)." (Scroll down to Anne Obrien Rice- guaranteed real name by Amazon, and feel free to compare this rant to the one on her official website.)
posted by headspace on Sep 20, 2004 - 82 comments

Critique Magazine's On Writing III

Critique Magazine's On Writing III - Each year, Critique Magazine's staff compiles essays by and interviews with writers, teachers, and translators of merit for inclusion in the special anniversary edition "On Writing".

Basically, a shitload of authors provide thoughts on, ahem, writing. {Both sites are worth a look, imo.}
posted by dobbs on Sep 15, 2004 - 18 comments

berating the classics

"First, look up the most popular and critically-acclaimed books, movies, and music on Amazon. Click on 'Customer Reviews,' and sort them by 'Lowest Rating First'..." The Amazon.com Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game.
posted by reklaw on Jul 2, 2004 - 48 comments

The Pastiche of a Presidency, Imitating a Life, in 957 Pages

The Pastiche of a Presidency, Imitating a Life, in 957 Pages This is a very bad review of the Clinton book, soon to be released. My question: why has the New York Times placed a book review on its front page? Would they have done this if the book were given a good review? Is the "paper of record" making a clear-cut statement about its feelings about Clinton? Has any other book review made the front page of the NY Times? I for one plan to read the book. I recall that Edmund Wilson once said: always stick to primary sources rather relying upon what some scholar or reviewer has to say about a book. Finally, Clinton is out of office (alas). How much longer will small and jealous puppies chase after The Big Dog?
posted by Postroad on Jun 20, 2004 - 33 comments

In the new LRB, a pretty good attempt to answer the pressing question - why do the Bush people want to attack Iraq so much?
posted by Mocata on Sep 25, 2002 - 20 comments

I'ma write a little letter, gonna mail it to my local DJ...

I'ma write a little letter, gonna mail it to my local DJ... Don't bother they're writing their own. Books, rather, but writing just the same. If, like me, you can remember when the radio was a magic box full of surprises rather than boredom, you'll want to read IndyWeek's reveiws of these two books by disc jockey's:college and pirate radio stalwart Jesse Walker and Richard Neer of the legendary WNEW-FM in NYC, the station that ignited my love affair with rock and roll(I still harbor pipedreams of hosting a show with Scott Muni.) These tomes may be partially exercises in nostalgia, but they may also hold clues on how to recapture what radio once was.
posted by jonmc on Feb 27, 2002 - 10 comments

Book-A-Minute SF/F---

Book-A-Minute SF/F--- Their "minute" is so spot-on a review for those books I've read that I'm off to find some books I haven't, just on this site's odd say-so.
posted by realjanetkagan on Feb 17, 2002 - 15 comments

Read what Newt does.

Read what Newt does. Or not. Newt Gingrich offers his book reviews on Amazon. Who knows, maybe he is saving up his associates fees for a barbecue grill.
posted by machaus on Aug 29, 2001 - 2 comments

Five five-star reviews on Amazon

Five five-star reviews on Amazon for G. Bruce Knecht’s The Proving Ground, about the tragic 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race. Of coarse it helps if you're a personal friend of Jeff Bezos. Does anyone seriously believe Jeff Bezos's review was honestly rated "18 out of 18 - helpful" by customers?
posted by swipe66 on Jun 20, 2001 - 19 comments

Fun to be Clueless

Fun to be Clueless Literati in the L.A. area will no doubt like this take on the odd tastes of the Times Book Review section. For the rest of us, there's the fun of watching one paper try and stick it to another. Also, and interesting take on the role books play as a medium in this media-rich age.
posted by jasonsmall on Mar 8, 2001 - 5 comments

I'm something of a bibliophile; at age 17 I have a personal library of over 600 books and I read about 120 books every year. One of the cool things I discovered on the 'net last year was the growing number of personal book review sites. A couple of my favorites are John Regehr's Book Pages and Danny Yee's Book Reviews. Both sites provide literate, enjoyable commentary on a wide-range of books. Assignment: Anybody else out there found any good book review sites? If so, please share and explain. :)
posted by hanseugene on Jan 25, 2001 - 29 comments

The Business of Death

If this doesn't get some arguments going, then I'd hate to think what would.
posted by Mocata on Jul 12, 2000 - 8 comments

If you've ever read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, you must read this mock review of it here, called Understanding Understanding Comics. I heard that Scott's such a great sport, he even helped out with some of the writing.
posted by mathowie on Jan 19, 2000 - 0 comments

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