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Book Review: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edward

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The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards is an A-to-Z how-to manual on book reviews that lays out the elements of reviews written for the general reader. If you've never written a book review and would like to learn how, this book is a good place to start.

Part One, "The Art of Reviewing," includes chapters on what a book review is and how to write one, reading critically, the different types of reviews (pre-publication vs. post-publication), the issue of payment, and how to start your own book review site. Part Two, "The Influence of Book Reviews," has chapters on the uses of reviews by the various audiences for them: libraries, bookstores, publishers, authors, publicists, book clubs, and readers. Part Three, "Resources," is an annotated list of resources for getting started doing reviews.

Parts one and two are aimed at people investigating what review writing is about and those who would like to try with the benefit of another's experience. While these sections can be helpful for those who like detailed instructions, the real interest for experienced reviewers is the list of resources. This thorough list has websites and contact names and gives an indication of how much the publication pays (if anything).

Book reviewing is not only an art, it's mainly an avocation for those of us who practice it; very few people, if any, actually make a living from book reviews alone. That's no reason not try, however. If you love to read and wonder what might be in it for you to become a reviewer, then The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a book worth checking out. You will find out just what you can expect and get pointers on what makes for good reviews. Best of all, you'll get the lowdown on where to go on the web and in print to both read reviews and publish some yourself.

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About Nancy Fontaine

Nancy Fontaine is a librarian and freelance writer living in New Hampshire with her husband, two cats, and every four years during presidential primary season, the national press.
  • Dear Nancy,

    Thank you so much for your generous review of my book. I appreciate your time!


  • Welll……who doesn’t want to read this title? What reviewer doesn’t wonder if perhaps they might be making amateurish mistakes?