Thousands of books are published each year. We’re led to many of them by intelligent, engaging, well-made book reviews, which not only investigate and articulate the mysteries and pleasures a literary text offers, but also please the reader with their style. Five widely published writers/critics/editors discuss the review as a genre in its own right, a unique form that offers—and invites—critical reflection, raises the level of public discourse, and establishes professional reputation.
Joseph Salvatore is books editor at the Brooklyn Rail and a frequent reviewer at the New York Times Book Review. He is an associate professor of writing at The New School, founding editor of their literary journal LIT, and the author of the story collection To Assume a Pleasing Shape.
Carolyn Kellogg is Books Editor at the LA Times. She assigns and edits all books coverage, online and in print, for the largest newspaper on the west coast. She also helps steer the paper’s Festival of Books, the nation’s largest literary festival. Her literary coverage is award winning.
Siddhartha Deb is the author of The Beautiful and the Damned, winner of the PEN Open award and a finalist for the Orwell Prize. A columnist for The Baffler and The New York Times Book Review and contributing editor to The New Republic, his writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Nation, and n+1.
Mark Sarvas‘s second novel, MEMENTO PARK, was just published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in March 2018. His debut novel, HARRY, REVISED (2008), was published in more than a dozen countries around the world. His book reviews and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Threepenny Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bookforum, The Huffington Post, The Dallas Morning News, and the Los Angeles Review of Books (where he is a contributing editor). He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and PEN/America, PEN Center USA, and has judged the PEN Center USA Fiction Award, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the Kirkwood Prize and The Tournament of Books. He began his literary career as the host of the popular and controversial literary weblog “The Elegant Variation.”
Michele Filgate is the editor of What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About, forthcoming. She is a contributing editor at Literary Hub, and a board member of the National Book Critics Circle. She teaches creative nonfiction for Catapult and Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop.
Chris Campanioni‘s new book, the Internet is for real (C&R Press, 2019), re-enacts the language of the Internet as literary installations. His selected poetry was awarded an Academy of American Poets College Prize in 2013, his novel Going Down was named Best First Book at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards, and his hybrid piece This body’s long (& I’m still loading) was adapted as an official selection of the Canadian International Film Festival in 2017. He runs PANK and PANK Books, edits At Large Magazine and Tupelo Quarterly, and teaches Latinx literature and creative writing at Pace University and Baruch College. He is a frequent contributor to The Brooklyn Rail.