Literary critics have lorded over the pages of elite magazines for centuries, and in the twentieth century, magazines like the New Yorker and The Atlantic have helped make and break potential new books. But now, we’re in the 21st century. People find books through social media recommendations and user ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. Book review publications have gone belly up or have downsized.
Today, Jason and I look critically at the critics. What can they offer us today, if anything? Do we really rely on professional critics to help us choose what to read?
We discuss why so many critics get a bad rap, and why sometimes that bad rap is justified.
- This Vanity Fair article breaks down what prominent literary critics have said about Donna Tartt’s latest novel The Goldfinch, which just won the Pulitzer Prize.
- The book Contagious by Jonah Berger (not my favorite book; I gave it two stars) discusses studies regarding bad reviews for new writers, mentioned in the show.
- Books you may want to check out: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling; A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin; Tenth of December by George Saunders
Anything we missed in the show notes? Just let us know in the comments.
Special thanks to Jason and the Beast for our show’s theme song, “Street Preacher.”