Critical Mass

Locating the Book Review Section


The freestanding Sunday newspaper supplement devoted to book reviews is now—with a very few exceptions—a thing of the past. When a paper does devote a page or two to literary coverage, it tends these days to be folded into the “arts and entertainment” or “lifestyle” sections. (After all, books do furnish a room.)

But my dim memory of the Dallas press from a quarter century ago (when there were, strange to say, two competing newspapers in one midsized city) is that book reviews appeared in the weekend sections devoted to editorials, punditry, think pieces, etc.

That is still the case with The Boston Globe, where book coverage appears in the back of the Ideas section. Likewise now with The L.A. Times.

A colleague has written to ask whether other American papers have tried this—attaching their book reviews to the Opinion or Outlook sections, or whatever the Big Concept pages are called, locally. If so, how did the move go? How did readers react?

Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of any. But it seemed like a query best addressed by the NBCC membership—geographically farflung and deeply informed as, of course, you all are. …