Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America (A Review)

The Farmington Review

Review by Curtis Cole

Every day, we see reviews: in magazines, on blogs, sometimes even in newspapers; we see reviews about everything, from the latest footwear, historical novel, to even our professors. And yet, we don’t think very much about the state of reviewing, what it means to review or be a reviewer. This is where Gail Pool’s book Faint Praise comes in and elucidates on the finer aspects of the industry.

Pool’s book is best described as a hard-edged account of the ills of the industry; filled with poignant life experiences from her years of reviewing and filled with studious historical research, Faint Praise mixes the personal and professional in order to inform the reader that reviewing is not merely a serious profession—that it is not something done merely for “fun”—and that this profession has many challenges facing it.

Reading the book, one’s experience may be fairly negative, especially…

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