Book Review Reviewed by Readers

There’s one news paper whose book-review remodel is getting good reviews: the Raleigh-Durham-Cary-Chapel Hill News & Observer. Granted, the plaudits are being printed in the paper itself. But they seem to come from regular BookPeople ™. From the News & Observer (“Book review pages get a review,” by Ted Vaden):

Those were some of the comments that new literary editor Marcy Smith and I received from readers upon the debut of the books pages under her editorship. The positive responses were gratifying and perhaps a relief to editors here who had earlier heard fears about the changes. In May, former books editor Peder Zane wrote a farewell column that set off an alarm in the Triangle reader community. A number of distinguished authors wrote to The N&O to ask that literary coverage not be diminished.

That won’t be the case, says Smith. She plans to broaden the books pages to appeal to a larger range of readers by reviewing more kinds of books. To that end, she has lined up a dozen writers to do regular columns on “niche” genres: among others, children’s and young adult books, food, poetry, race, women’s issues, science fiction and mysteries.

Previously, Smith said, the books pages were more of a “books-based approach. This is more of a reader-based approach. It will be the big important books, but a wider range, all of the books people are reading.”

She added, “I think that’s what readers want, and if I’m wrong I’d like them to tell me so.”



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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