Sunday, October 08, 2006

Writing book reviews

William Kennedy is quoted in the most recent NY Times Book Review, saying:

Any book by Cormac McCarthy is worth buying and, when invited to do so, worth reviewing... I don't review much any more. I did it as a way of life for a while and almost made a living at it, but it was painful to read bad or disappointing books, and worse to write negatively about them. But reviewing a substantial novel like 'The Road is an exercise in personal discipline, and the spirit is elevated; for a close reading is itself a creative act, an immersion in the style and value of this gifted author; and it is, as well, a reassurance that literary complexity and high seriousness are not as endangered as some say they are.

I write a lot of reviews, and read even more, but have never read such a true "review of the craft of book reviews." Thank you, William Kennedy.


  1. Good call. I too was struck by the depth of Kennedy's review this morning. Although I'm certainly not a fan of all things end times, I'm now tempted to read McCarthy, based on this review. Only tempted, though. As someone who has never been able to bring herself to read Revelations in it's entirety, Left Behind would surely be too much for me!

    Our deepest condolences on the loss of your Grandma. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. I share distaste for much of end times literature, although I do like to nerd out and watch apocalyptic movies.

    the review, however, was convincing.