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Moira Richards

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

How Not To Write a Book Review

“Reviewers have been sometimes accused of not reading the works which they affected to criticise. On the present occasion we shall anticipate the author’s complaint, and honestly confess that we have not read his work. Not that we have been wanting in our duty – far from it – indeed, we have made efforts almost as superhuman as the story itself appears to be, to get through it; but with the fullest stretch of our perseverance, we are forced to confess that we have not been able to struggle beyond the first of the four books of which this Poetic Romance consists. We should extremely lament this want of energy, or whatever it may be, on our parts, were it not for one consolation – namely, that we are no better acquainted with the meaning of the book through which we have so painfully toiled, than we are with that of the three which we have not looked into.” hmmmm… Mr Pinsky


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">James Clelland</a>
    James Clelland
    July 22nd, 2011 @12:34 #

    Loved this, moi! At least he tried. I used to have a rule that I'd finish a book once started - I even finished Moby Dick, just ask me the 342 uses for whale blubber if you don't believe me - but as my to-read pile unsteadily mounted, I gave that concept up. Now I happily say 'nah' and start another. It's so liberating, but I avoid writing reviews of them , in case the problem is mine and not the book.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">moi</a>
    July 22nd, 2011 @16:36 #

    :-)) Robert Pinsky, whose piece I've referenced/quoted from, subtitled it, 'What a hatchet job on John Keats teaches us' and he continues by describing John Croker who writ the snippet above, as "the young Irish wit and polemicist [who], according to some sources, ... invented the very term 'conservative'."

    I agree with you re the 'nah' point. A book has 50 pages, outside max, to grab me and if there's no chemistry 'tween us by then, then I'm likely doing me, it or the author a disservice to continue.


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