On Reviewing by Margaret Forster

Margaret Forster

On Reviewing

 

Reviewers are universally reviled. It is alleged that they do not read the books they review (or that they read them blinded by envy because they are failed authors themselves). It is said they only review for the money (or alternatively that they get paid so little they cannot afford to take the time to do their job properly). It is rumoured that they use their wretched reviews as platforms for their own ideas (or that they lack originality and are mere echoes). Only reviewers who are dead are revered and they of course were a different breed: Literary Critics to a man.

God knows why, in these circumstances, I ever wanted to do the job, but I did. I have always liked not just reading books but discussing them and turn eagerly to reviews to match my opinion with others. The only reason I held back from reviewing for so long was

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