Two of my favorite reviewers are Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critics Michael Dirda of the Washington Post and the great Michiko Kakutani, formerly of the New York Times. Both can lay out a review in ways that break a book down for a reader in interesting and informative ways without simply making it seem as if they are listing out a series bullet points… like many reviewers tend to do. And both can bring you to an understanding of the work being reviewed – what they like about it, what they don’t – with always just the right tone deserving of it. Mostly both are modest and balanced in their well-informed and well-referenced literary assessments; however, if the book calls for a fight, they can take it down to the mat as fast and as hard as any crazy-eyed pile-driving WWE champion ever could. Ms. Kakutani was especially known for her fearlessness – and ruthlessness – when taking on the bad writing of popular(ly pretentious) authors.
*cough, Franzen, cough cough
Fortunately, Mr. Dirda is still working his beat for the Post.
Unfortunately, Ms. Kakutani, after a stellar and storied career, retired from the Times a couple of years ago… right around the time of President The Donald’s election come to think about it.
When I learned of her retirement it actually made me sad.
But guess what.
I think I may have found a worthy replacement for Ms. Kakutani as one of my top go to reviewers…
That would be Ms. Kitty Marie of Kitty Marie’s Reading Corner.
That’s right, check out her review of my book, of which is reblogged down below for your entertainment and instruction, and then check out all of her many other interesting, informative, and tightly structured reviews posted to her website, and try to tell me you don’t agree with me that her reviews are some of the best there are.
Thank you Kitty for all the time and care you invested in reading and reviewing, not just my book, but all the others as well. You, and all the reviewers out there like you doing it simply for the love and admiration of the written word, provide an immensely valuable service for the entire literary community.