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.
It's time to clear out a little spot on that bookshelf because this one is sure to impress your literary friends. Among a few other incredible books up for sale by a London bookseller is this copy of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. It is one of the original 460 copies hand printed by Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and it is signed by Eliot to the doctor who treated him at the clinic in Laussane where the poem was written. Good thing you've been saving up.
Last Thursday's Goodreads event hosted by Patrick and featuring Emily Mandel and attended by myself and several other Millions writers and alums got written up in the Wall Street Journal. I'm told that there is a photo of yours truly in the print version, but a hard copy of the WSJ is hard to come by here in the woods. Also, Clancy Martin likes The Millions and some other great sites!
"The day after we elected Donald Trump, I told my daughter the truth: This was the wrong choice. I am devastated. I am furious. And I am sorry, because you deserve better." Nicole Chung with some beautiful words over at Buzzfeed (q.v. also Mira Jacob ("Here's What I'm Telling My Brown Son About Trump's America") and Manuel Gonzalez ("I Will Teach My Children To Survive The New America").
There's a lot of (justified) talk about the power of reading, but simply owning a book can be meaningful. Mabel Rosenheck considers Walter Benjamin's perspective on book ownership - "[it] is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them." - and her own experiences with book collecting in San Francisco in an essay for The Toast. Pair with Anne Fadiman's essay on relationships, books, and relationships with books, "Marrying Libraries."