Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hold on! You mean I could get ...
...paid for this?

George Orwell on the pathetic life of the professional book reviewer:

The best practice, it has always seemed to me, would be simply to ignore
the great majority of books and to give very long reviews--1,000 words is
a bare minimum--to the few that seem to matter. Short notes of a line or
two on forthcoming books can be useful, but the usual middle-length review
of about 600 words is bound to be worthless even if the reviewer genuinely
wants to write it. Normally he doesn't want to write it, and the week-in,
week-out production of snippets soon reduces him to the crushed figure in
a dressing-gown whom I described at the beginning of this article.
However, everyone in this world has someone else whom he can look down
on, and I must say, from experience of both trades, that the book
reviewer is better off than the film critic, who cannot even do his work
at home, but has to attend trade shows at eleven in the morning and, with
one or two notable exceptions, is expected to sell his honour for a glass
of inferior sherry.

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