There’s been much discussion of late about the book review — its pitfalls, its merits, its relevance. Does it hurt to be too negative? Too positive? (Here’s a bit of a round-up.) I have enjoyed reading others’ thoughts on the topic, because this is also a discussion ongoing between my ears. My personal considerations are a bit different because I tend to review mostly poetry, and poetry has such a small readership that I feel part of my duty as a reviewer is to be an ambassador for the art form. I’m way more interested in attracting more people to the poetry shelf in their bookstore (and these days, it is often a single shelf) than in scolding or stroking the people who are already there.
I do have a new batch of reviews in the latest issue of the Montreal Review of Books, and while I didn’t love all of the books in question, I would be delighted if you were interested enough to pick up any of them.