Nothing Can Be Squishy: Donna Seaman on Criticism

Today, the National Book Critics Circle blog ran an interview with our beloved Adult Books editor, Donna Seaman, as part of their series on the craft of criticism. In it, they called her “the queen of the 250 word or less review” and dove into her process. Here are some highlights.

On brevity: I think about the Booklist review as a literary form with rules, like a sonnet.

On discipline: Discipline is essential, but flexibility and reflection and unruliness are important, too.

On precision: I think of each review as a structure in which each word is weight-bearing. Nothing can be squishy.

On perseverance: When I’m feeling defeated, I remember brilliant writers talking about how they rewrote manuscripts over and over again.

On getting started: My advice to beginning critics is read continuously and adventurously as well as attentively and inquisitively.

For the whole interview, click here. A note to any publishers reading this: the reading public could use a Donna Seaman-penned advice manual!




About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the former Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist.

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