Explaining why I’m an illiterati

In 2009, David L. Ulin, then book editor of the LA Times, wrote a column called “The Lost Art of Reading,” a piece I noted at the time. Ulin, still a book critic with the paper, was encouraged to expand the column into a longer essay, which was published late last year as The Lost […]

Look out for reviewers who dislike owls

Essays about book reviewing, particularly those by authors, intrigue me. Certainly, the views Charles Baxter expresses in Owl Criticism are worthy of note.

Lots of people will agree with him that many Amazon reviews, such as those that dismiss Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary simply as boring, “serve no purpose at all.” Yet when he […]

Short of the finalist lists again

Given that it’s the Board of Directors that really picks the finalists, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that, once again, none of my personal books of the year and at best one of the books I voted for is on the short list for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award. At least I’ve […]