What makes a perfect book review?

What are the rules of reviewing books? Ronan McDonald looks at the thorny cultural landscape of the contemporary criticism.
Page with book review written on it with scrumpled paper and typewriter beside it

Imagine you’re the literary editor for a major US newspaper, like The New York Times or The Washington Post. You know that getting a good notice in your paper can launch the career of a young writer and you’re far from indifferent to the fate of literary culture. You majored in English and once nurtured dreams of being a novelist yourself. But tens of thousands of fiction titles are published each year and it sometimes feels like most of them are piled up on your desk.

So, what are you to do? How do you decide what gets covered and what ignored? Spoiler alert: it’s not meritocratic.

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