One-Minute Book Reviews

About This Blog

One-Minute Book Reviews is an independent blog created by its editor-in-chief, Janice Harayda, an award-winning journalist and critic. It consists of brief reviews of new and classic fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and children. One-Minute Book Reviews generally does not cover literary gossip, trends, or news, except for news about major awards or controversies involving books that have been reviewed or may be reviewed on the site. It is for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.

Comments on posts must relate directly to their content,  must contain no more than 250 words, and must  have a civil tone.  They must also include a name, a photo avatar, or a link to a site that includes it unless their author is known to the moderator of One-Minute Book Reviews. Photo avatars may not be Gravatars that link only to a Gravatar page with no further information about the commenter. Comments may not violate copyright, libel, defamation or other laws that apply. Any comment that does not meet these tests will be edited or deleted. Anyone who ignores the comments policies may be blocked without warning.

One-Minute Book is also the home of  the Totally Unauthorized Reading Group Guides, which offer an alternative to publishers’ reading group guides.

One-Minute Book Reviews was one of the top 10 Blogs of the Day in the category of “growing blogs” on for Nov. 23 and 26 and on other days in 2006. A link to its first ranking in the top 10: Its most recently appeared among the top 25 WordPress Blogs of the Day (“blogs that have gained the most popularity recently”) on Oct. 30, 2011.

One-Minute Book Reviews was the ninth-ranked book review site in the world on the Google Directory of “Top Arts and Literature” blogs on Oct. 1, 2008: It is one of the top 40 book blogs as ranked by Technorati (No. 24 on Feb. 27, 2012), and one of the top 40 book-review blogs as rated by Alexa Internet (No. 26 on Feb. 27, 2012). It was one of the “top 10 movers” (fastest-rising) book blogs on Technorati on Feb. 24, 2012.

Janice Harayda has been named one of “25 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2008” by the site Virtual Woman’s Day

Please see the “Praise” page for more recent praise for One-Minute Book Reviews.

The premise of the blog is similar to that of Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine the Telephone Operator: We review everybody “from presidents and kings to the scum of the earth.” But it differs from other sites about books in many ways:

1) Unlike most book review sites or sections, One-Minute Book Reviews doesn’t accept free books from people in publishing. All reviews and reading group guides offer an independent evaluation of books that is not influenced by marketing concerns.

2) Most book review sites or publications deal either with new or forthcoming books. One-Minute Book Reviews looks at both kinds of books and classic or evergreen books.

3) One-Minute Book Reviews also reviews genres that most Sunday book review sections ignore, such as self-help books. And it includes an occasional series, “Books I Didn’t Finish,” that explains why a book didn’t get a full review. Most book editors decide what to review partly by reading part of a book — say, the first 10 or 20 pages. But they don’t tell you how much they read or why they passed over a book. One-Minute Book Reviews does explain why some books didn’t get reviewed.

4) Each review on this blog has several distinctive elements. One is that it lists the best and worst lines in the book. Another is that it lists the name of the editor if he or she is identified clearly in the acknowledgments. A third is that if a book gets panned, it may suggest another book you might enjoy more.

5) One-Minute Book Reviews covers all kinds of books but focuses partly on achieving parity for groups of writers often slighted by other media. These include women, poets, and authors of books from small presses or other countries. At least 50 percent of the reviews cover books by female authors.

6) Janice Harayda writes all the reviews, which reflect her sensibility. The qualities she admires most in critics are intelligence, moral courage, a strong and unique voice and, when appropriate, wit.

Please click on the “FAQ” page for more information about this site, including an explanation of why One-Minute Book Reviews doesn’t accept books from from publishers and how titles are selected for review on the site. The “FAQ” page has answers to questions often asked by readers, book publicists and others.

(c) 2006, 2011 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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