(Lev Grossman writes about books here on Wednesdays. Subscribe to his RSS feed.)
My career as a book reviewer started with a cold call.
The year before, I had dropped out of graduate school rather than inflict another dissertation about Joyce and Woolf on the world. And I didn’t regret that – I don’ t think anybody will ever, ever regret that – but I did miss writing about books. Maybe, it occurred to me, if I wasn’t writing a dissertation, I could just inflict a few book reviews on the world instead. What’s the worst that could happen.
So I bought a copy of Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine that publishes a very large number of very short reviews, and called their offices, and asked for the reviews editor. This was 1997, which was probably the last moment in history when you could do something like that and…