Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Ten Commandments of Book Reviewing

The 60th in this occasional series of reprints from Quote Unquote the magazine is from the November 1996 issue. On the last page we would have snippets of amusingness from around the world or, in this case, Chris Else. His Ten Commandments of Book Reviewing were:
1. Thou shalt not be nice to thy mates.
2. Thou shalt not give away the entire plot.
3. Thou shalt not review some other book.
4. Thou shalt not conduct a personal vendetta.
5. Thou shalt not operate a double standard.
6. Thou shalt not indulge thy literary propensities.
7. Thou shalt not ride thy hobby horse.
8. Thou shalt not work without payment.
9. Thou shalt not seek thine own glorification.
10. Thou shalt not forget that thy readers pay good money to read thy maunderings.


helenalex said...

How about 'Thou shalt actually review the book, rather than writing an essay about the book's subject, then adding two paragraphs at the end on whether the book is any good'. Looking at you, London Review of Books.

The essays are usually very interesting, but they're not really book reviews.

Stephen Stratford said...

Agreed. That's a very English style. The writers in the Literary Review do a bit of both - you get a good account of the subject area and, because they are usually experts in the field, a very sharp assessment of the book's merits or otherwise.