“Five thumbs up!” “You’ll laugh till you pee!” “Not since Tolstoy …”
Tired of reading lines like these in book reviews in respected magazines and newspapers? Or of seeing modestly promising first novelists hailed as the next Henry James or Edith Wharton?
You can fight hype and review inflation by nominating your candidates for the One-Minute Book Reviews Gusher Awards for Achievement in Hyperbole. A new winner will be named on the site every Friday beginning Feb. 8.
Here’s how to nominate your candidates:
1. Look for book reviews that go over the top. A rave won’t qualify if it’s an intelligent rave. Nor will a review qualify just because you and I disagree with it. The comments in the review need to defy belief or common sense. Several examples appeared in a recent post about Gail Pool’s Faint Praise, including a Boston Globe review that said that Zadie Smith’s White Teeth had “changed literature’s future” www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/. The quote you nominate does not need to have appeared in the past week.
3. You can nominate a candidate by using the e-mail address on the Contact page on this site or by leaving a comment on any post that relates to the Gusher Awards, including this post. Please list the comment, the magazine or newspaper that published it, the date of publication and, if possible, a link. If you nominate a comment by e-mail, please refer to the awards in the subject heading and let me know if you’d like a “Submitted by …” credit if I use the comment.
4.You don’t have to explain what’s wrong with the quote. Most of the quotes should speak for themselves. If you want to explain what’s wrong, please comment on the quote, not on the reviewer. No personal attacks.
5. The Gusher Awards will generally honor reviews in publications large enough to use professional reviewers, such as daily newspapers and mass-market magazines — not community weeklies that depend on unpaid amateurs. The awards may also honor some blurbs.
Don’t forget that the finalists for the Delete Key Awards for the year’s worst writing in books will be announced on Feb. 29, so you can nominate candidates for those, too.
© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.