Many of the old practices and standards, and safeguards, of the publishing business have gone by the wayside over these past decades, at the same as the newspaper business has shrunk, and newspapers and publishing houses have gutted their staffs of editors, proofreaders, fact checkers. Reviewing books is an important part of a writer’s community, and grows more important as you grow in prominence.
The course blog for the “literary citizenship” course being taught by Cathy Day at Ball State University has posted some great resources for writers recently (this one on literary generosity in particular is something anyone aiming toward publication should read). The post excerpted above, a conversation between Day and experienced book reviewer David Walton, could be a good resource for those of you teaching the review as one of your genres in WR121, to help students understand why reviews and reviewing matter.
In a related — if more comic (or perhaps tragic?) — vein, you might also share with them Lincoln Michel’s “book report on Moby-Dick constructed from random sentences in negative Amazon and Goodreads reviews”, as an example of playing with genre.