Critical Notes

Roundup: Paid Positive Reviews, Martin Amis, Danilo Kis, and More

By Mark Athitakis

How polluted are online review sites with paid positive notices? The New York Times takes a look at one site that turned $28,000 a month that way; an expert estimates that a third of consumer interviews on the internet are fake.

Jordan Michael Smith reviews Keith Lowe’s Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II for Bookforum and reviews George Orwell’s Diaries for the Christian Science Monitor.

Rigoberto Gonzalez reviews Demetria Martinez’s novel The Block Captain’s Daughter for the El Paso Times.

Heller McAlpin’s “Reading in Common” column for the Barnes & Noble Review covers Ali Smith’s novel There but for the; she also reviews Paul Auster's memoir Winter Journal for

Karen R. Long reviews Hanna Pylvainen's novel We Sinners for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Richard Z. Santos reviews Domingo Martinez’s memoir The Boy Kings of Texas for the San Antonio Current.

Steve Weinberg reviews Drew Jubera’s Must Win: A Season of Survival for a Town and Its Team for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Carolyn Kellogg reviews Martin Amis’ novel Lionel Asbo: State of England for the Los Angeles Times.

Joseph Peschel reviews Craig Pittman’s book on orchidophiles, A Scent of Scandal, for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Jacob Silverman reviews Dalkey Archive Press’ new translations of books by Serbian author Danilo Kis for Tablet.

Jane Ciabattari reviews Amanda Coplin’s novel The Orchardist for; Mary Ann Gwinn interviews Coplin for the Seattle Times.

Julia M. Klein reviews Kati Marton’s memoir Paris: A Love Story for the Wall Street Journal.

Your reviews and recommendations help seed these roundups: If you’re an NBCC member with a review you’d like considered for inclusion, please email You can also get our attention by using the Twitter hashtag #nbcc, posting on the wall of our Facebook page, or joining our members-only LinkedIn group.