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What’s the purpose of book reviews?
Book reviews are part of a larger, dignified conversation about literature, something that I had only considered previously in terms of the Internet and its allowance for immediate responses in the comments section (something that Patrick Nathan loathes). But in truth, it’s not as instantaneous as all that. It’s more like these publications—online and in print—are playing the longest song in the world, and the tune is always changing because as both Melissa Wray and Patrick Nathan point out in their reviews, the canon and what the new generation of readers seeks in literature is changing. As Eric Lorberer, editor of Rain Taxi Review of Books and a wealth of well-said wisdom on literature in general put it, “Book reviewers have often been seen as gatekeepers and tastemakers, but I prefer to view them as conversant readers who instigate further conversation.”
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