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Is book reviewing a public service or an art?

Well duh. It's BOTH. Who didn't know that??

This part made me laugh immoderately, because OH SO TRUE!!!

As inert as it might look on the page, the book review is a weirdly pressurized and verbally jeopardized space, crisscrossed with potential errors. There’s a huge pull toward pomposity, for one thing. Drop your guard, mid-review, and you’ll find yourself holding forth like a drunken bishop. “Insofar as our author blah blah blah. . . . ” Book review bombast comes in three flavors: highbrow (“Every page witnesses the overflow of his vast erudition”), middlebrow (“magisterial . . . that rare thing”) or lowbrow (“Wade through burning gasoline to get this book”). And everybody does it, automatically as it were. It’s why blurbs all sound like blurbs.

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