Critical Mass

Guest Post by Michael Lindgren: How Do You Decide What to Read Next?

By Michael Lindgren

Next up in the third in our Next Decade in Book Culture series, NBCC member Michael Lindren:


Most of my reviews are assigned, rather than pitched, so it's a rare occasion when I am actively looking for something new to read. When I do get an open slot, it usually goes to something that has been languishing on my massive, ever-evolving list of books to read.

That said, there are a number of periodicals that I do read regularly. The list is topped, of course, by the New York Review of Books, which along with Bookforum I regard as the only truly indispensable literary read. These two are augmented by, in no particular order, the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, n+1, the Times Literary Supplement, Harper's, and the Atlantic Monthly.

Like everyone else, I find the New York Times Book Review consistently irritating, although I take Liesl Schillinger's opinions to heart. Other critics I trust include Ron Charles, Jonathan Yardley, Karen Long, James Wood, Daniel Mendelsohn, and David Hadju; there are undoubtedly others stil who just don't come to mind right now. I don't generally go online with the idea of looking for book reviews, although I am an occasional reader of the Rumpus, Second Pass, Bookslut, Maud Newton, and a few others. Finally, I have a valuable network of trusted friends, accumulated over two decades in publishing and bookselling, whom I rely on for recommendations, conversation, ideas, correctives, and humor.