Conference Proceeding: More Than Just One Person's Opinion: What Makes Good Book Criticism?

How do we know what makes a good book? There’s that feeling - “I love that book! And so will you!” But it’s important to be able to talk specifically about what’s good, what’s bad; what works and what doesn’t, in order to understand how a good book is made - one that will stay in print past the current publishing season and might make future readers say: “I love that book! And so will you!”

Noted children’s book critic Leonard S. Marcus and Tablet magazine writer Marjorie Ingall will discuss how they approach the assessment and review of books, including when - and how - to put aside personal biases… and when to embrace and acknowledge them. Panel members representing book review journals will talk about issues specific to their audience. Topics will include literary excellence, content expertise, the shared language of reviewing (including “useless” words), potential audience reception (including how much to consider it as a factor), cultural sensitivities/diversity, in-group reviewing versus reviewing outside one’s own culture, and non-professional reviewing (i.e., Amazon).