Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that a majority of the reading public doesn’t necessarily benefit from the sorts of reviews for which artistry is the point.” You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s hypothetical worst review ever.
Hyperallergic has excerpts from Rokudenashiko’s graphic memoir What Is Obscenity? The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and Her Pussy, which Michael Melgaard recently reviewed at The Millions.
New York Review Books is having a Summer Sale, featuring heavily discounted works by Mavis Gallant (who we’ve reviewed and whose books appear in several of our articles), Balzac and many others. There’s even a Bird Lovers’ collection, for anyone wanting to read all about falcons and something called a goshawk.