5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week (2023)

5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week (1)

Our arsenal of amazing reviews this week includes Andrea Long Chu on Ottessa Moshfegh’s Lapvona, Lauren Groff on Sarah Stodola’s The Last Resort, Brian Dillon on Hilary Mantel’s Learning to Talk, Dan Piepenbring on Werner Herzog’s The Twilight World, and Julie Zickefooseon Ed Yong’s An Immense World.

Brought to you by Book Marks, Lit Hub’s “Rotten Tomatoes for books.”

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5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week (2)

“At first glance, Lapvona is the most disgusting thing Moshfegh has ever written…Yet Moshfegh’s trusty razor can feel oddly blunted in Lapvona. In part, her characteristic incisiveness is dulled by her decision to forgo the first person, in favor of more than a dozen centers of consciousness. This diminishment is also a curious effect of Lapvona itself … Lapvona is the clearest indication yet that the desired effect of Moshfegh’s fiction is not shock but sympathy. Like Hamlet, she must be cruel in order to be kind. Her protagonists are gross and abrasive because they have already begun to molt; peel back their blistering misanthropy and you will find lonely, sensitive people who are in this world but not of it, desperate to transform, ascend, escape … This is the problem with writing to wake people up: Your ideal reader is inevitably asleep. Even if such readers exist, there is no reason to write books for them—not because novels are for the elite but because the first assumption of every novel must be that the reader will infinitely exceed it. Fear of the reader, not of God, is the beginning of literature. Deep down, Moshfegh knows this….Yet the novelist continues to write as if her readers are fundamentally beneath her; as if they, unlike her, have never stopped to consider that the world may be bullshit; as if they must be steered, tricked, or cajoled into knowledge by those whom the universe has seen fit to appoint as their shepherds … It’s a shame. Moshfegh dirt is good dirt. But the author of Lapvona is not an iconoclast; she is a nun. Behind the carefully cultivated persona of arrogant genius, past the disgusting pleasures of her fiction and bland heresies of her politics, wedged just above her not inconsiderable talent, there sits a small, hardened lump of piety. She may truly be a great American novelist one day, if only she learns to be less important. Until then, Moshfegh remains a servant of the highest god there is: herself.”

–Andrea Long Chu on Ottessa Moshfegh’s Lapvona (Vulture)

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5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week (3)

“Stodola is, like me, skeptical about the beach idyll, constantly seeing the darker forces of environmental and cultural degradation amid all the luxury she describes. She is at her most incisive when she calmly, clearly lists what is lost when beach resorts take over a place … Stodola’s careful critique of the invasive species that is the luxury resort helped clarify my beach-hater’s reflexive outrage. And yet, as she piled on her profiles of resorts all over the world—and Tulum blended into Sumba, which blended into Barbados, which blended into Bali, which blended into Acapulco, their high-priced cocktails and corrosive effects becoming a repetitive blur—I felt dizzy and exhausted. Luxury can swiftly glut. I also felt morally queasy about her pursuit. Her travels officially counted as research, I understood. But I began to wonder how someone so perceptive, intelligent, and ethical could so studiously anatomize the pervasive harm wreaked by these places, and yet take long-haul flights around the globe to spend time at many (many!) more of them than nailing her argument required. She recognizes the ways in which she is complicit—she makes that clear in The Last Resort—and still she kept choosing to be complicit … If I can’t help feeling that Stodola tries to have it both ways, which I read as a kind of hypocrisy, the reason I find it hard to swallow is that I so often do the same … If we all paid attention to what is happening to the planet in the Anthropocene, we’d be running around with our heads on fire.”

–Lauren Groff on Sarah Stodola’s The Last Resort: A Chronicle of Paradise, Profit, and Peril at the Beach (The Atlantic)

5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week (4)

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“How unexpected, how consoling, that one of the best-selling British novelists of recent decades should also be such a peculiar, stringent prose stylist—and gothic affronter of authority … Mantel evokes beautifully a place ingrained with the soot and sweat of labor, a time populated with racist landlords and ‘dental cripples,’ when relatives were the only domestic visitors, and one’s parents seemed to have no actual friends … The drowned village is one of the larger conceits in Learning to Talk; usually, Mantel’s imagery is less allegorically freighted, less amenable. Her particular, unsettling skill lies in discovering queasy equivalents for physical sensations and emotional states—the body is always there, as metaphor, to remind us of its unmetaphorical heft and threat … The innocent cruelty of childhood, youth’s horror at the alien predicaments of adult bodies and adult lives: Mantel conjures all this with nerveless precision … Sickness also haunts Learning to Talk: an intermittent presence in childhood, a horizon, perhaps, toward which everything is moving. It’s part of the wider project or tendency in Mantel’s work: to explore, as she does so lucidly and strangely here, the hinterland between emotional history and anxious embodiment.”

–Brian Dillon on Hilary Mantel’s Learning to Talk (4Columns)

5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week (5)

“Few writers are better equipped to capture a place so overwhelmingly opaque that it lapses into absurdity, and a life that became an exercise in purposed purposelessness. In Herzog’s hands, Lubang exists outside of time, and Onoda’s war has the eerie gravity of a thought experiment come to life … The Twilight World has the unenviable task of dramatizing nearly three decades of acute emptiness. Onoda and his companions lived like a millenarian cult, anticipating a salvation that never came—the action was all in the future, and all in their minds. Herzog has written a clipped, economical account that sometimes explodes into lyricism, turning their waiting into a thing of numb, antic beauty. His trick is not to put us in Onoda’s head but to remain so resolutely outside of it that we feel immured in the same wilderness … Herzog has always been attuned to the ways in which survivalism functions as a form of existentialism. The brutal irony of The Twilight World comes in moments like these, when Onoda succumbs to what a psychologist might call patternicity. He finds meaning everywhere, hearing signals that soon fade into the endless noise …To call it dark, dry, or deadpan is an understatement; it’s more like cosmic farce, or field recordings of the hiccups of fate. The novel’s most humorous events are also its most despairing … Herzog, who has made a career studying the emptiness of meaning-making, celebrates Onoda’s noble crusade even as he dismisses its abject triviality; it takes a kindred spirit to admire someone who held himself hostage to a lost cause.”

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–Dan Piepenbring on Werner Herzog’s The Twilight World (The New Yorker)

5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week (6)

“… a dense and dazzling ride through the sensory world of astoundingly sophisticated creatures. Who wouldn’t want to tag along on a field research trip or peek into the lab of a sensory biologist? … rich with stories from lab and field, with lucid explanations of the mechanics behind sensory perception. There is more than enough mind-boggling science, with delightfully distracting footnotes on most pages and a whopping 45-page bibliography. Yet Mr. Yong’s storytelling will carry most readers through the thicket with ease … It’s Mr. Yong’s task to expand our thinking, to rouse our sense of wonder, to help us feel humbled and exalted at the capabilities of our fellow inhabitants on Earth. This rich and deeply affectionate travelogue of animal sensory wonders ends with a plea to us—noisy, light-polluting anthropoid apes—to stop and consider others’ needs: for silence, for darkness, for space. Despite the stunning discoveries chronicled here, what we don’t know about these animals’ experience in the world we share is still virtually . . . everything.”

–Julie Zickefooseon Ed Yong’s An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us (The Wall Street Journal)

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5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This WeekBook Marksbook reviews


Which is the best review of books? ›

1. Goodreads. Goodreads is arguably the leading online community for book lovers. If you want some inspiration for which novel or biography to read next, this is the book review site to visit.

How do I find a book review? ›

The sources listed below are some of the most common places to find them.
  1. Amazon.com. Amazon.com offers book reviews of many of the book titles it sells. ...
  2. Barnes & Noble. ...
  3. Complete Review. ...
  4. GoodReads Reviews. ...
  5. LibraryThing Reviews. ...
  6. LJ Reviews. ...
  7. New York Times Book Review (free selections) ...
  8. School Library Journal Reviews+
Jan 31, 2023

What is a successful book review? ›

A good review is about the book, not the author.

Focus on the writing, on the treatment of the topic, on the characters, on the storyline, on the research, on the facts, and so on. Don't make judgment calls about the author's faith, intelligence, relationships, parenting skills, parentage, or whatever.

What is the number 1 most read book? ›

The Bible. Easily the most read book in the world is the Bible for obvious reasons. It is estimated to have sold over 40 million copies in the last 60 years.

What is the #1 best selling book? ›

Having sold more than 600 million copies worldwide. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling is the best-selling book series in history.

How do you write a review example? ›

Table of contents
  • Provide useful, constructive feedback.
  • Talk about a range of elements, including customer service.
  • Be detailed, specific, and honest.
  • Leave out links and personal information.
  • Keep it civil and friendly.
  • Feel free to update your review if needed.
  • Check you've got the right domain name or company.

What words do you use in a book review? ›

The following adjectives can be used to give a positive review (negatives of these can be used for a negative review).
  • informative.
  • interesting.
  • well-organised.
  • concise.
  • up-to-date.
  • thorough.
  • substantial.
  • comprehensive.
Dec 27, 2022

What are the four types of book review? ›

We will be covering four of the most common: endorsements, trade, reader, and editorial reviews. It is important to note that any one of these reviews can help your book become a success but using a combination of all four will give you the best chances.

What are the 4 parts of book review? ›

The four stages of writing a book review are: introducing the book, outlining its contents, highlighting parts of the book by selecting particular chapters or themes, and giving a detailed evaluation.

What are the 3 main features of a book review? ›

The book review format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Describe the book cover and title.

What is the number two most read book? ›

The most read book in the World is Bible. This holy book so far has outsold any other in the world. During the last 50 years, a whopping 3.9 billion copies has been sold. The second most read book in the world is the Holy Quran.

What books are selling well right now? ›

  • The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival. ...
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. ...
  • How to Catch a Leprechaun. ...
  • Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel. ...
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. ...
  • It Ends with Us: A Novel (1) ...
  • It Starts with Us: A Novel (2) (It Ends with Us)

What is an example of a positive review? ›

An example of a generally positive review is “I had a great time at [Business Name].” Some positive review response examples that your business can use: “Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.” “Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us feedback.”

How do you write a short review? ›

Discuss what you like or dislike about the story. Give reasons to support your opinion. You may want to compare and contrast the story with other stories you have read by the same author or in the same genre. You can also compare the story to your own personal experience or a current event in the news.

How to start a review? ›

Introduce the topic

Yes, always start with an overview of the topic and give some context, explaining why a review of the topic is necessary. Gather research to inform your introduction and make it broad enough to reach out to a large audience of non-specialists. This will help maximize its wider relevance and impact.

What is book review easy words? ›

A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is merely described (summary review) or analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review may be a primary source, opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review.

What is a book review in simple words? ›

A book review is a thorough description, critical analysis, and/or evaluation of the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, often written in relation to prior research on the topic.

What should be the first line of a book review? ›

Introduce the title and author of the book. State the purpose of the book (including the author's thesis or major findings) State your thesis (or the purpose of your review)

How do you start a book review sentence starter? ›

- One of the things that surprised me was … - I would definitely recommend this book to … - I particularly enjoyed the part when … - I am looking forward to reading other books by …

How do you write a book review step by step? ›

The four stages of writing a book review
  1. Introduce the book: outline the general topic. ...
  2. Outline the content of the book: give a general view of its the organization. ...
  3. Highlight parts of the book: select particular chapters or themes for evaluation. ...
  4. Evaluate the book: comment on aspects of the content.

How do you write a reading comment? ›

Page 1
  1. Word skills • Read all the words correctly. • Read familiar words independently. • Found some words difficult. ...
  2. Comprehension • Understood the story well. • Good discussion about events in the story. • Retold the story in detail. ...
  3. Attitude and interest • Read eagerly. • Enjoyed the story because …… •

Who is the #1 reviewer on Amazon? ›

Joanna Daneman, a 63-year-old financial professional from Delaware, is the most-decorated reviewer in Amazon history, a reign that began in the late '90s when she decided to review every book she'd ever read. She has been No. 1 several times — she's currently No.

What is the free book website? ›

Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world's great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.

What are the five types of books? ›

What are the different types of books?
  • Adventure stories.
  • Classics.
  • Crime.
  • Fairy tales, fables, and folk tales.
  • Fantasy.
  • Historical fiction.
  • Horror.
  • Humour and satire.
Apr 22, 2022

What are the 6 types of books? ›

6 (six) is the natural number following 5 and preceding 7. It is a composite number and the smallest perfect number.

What are the two types of book review? ›

Introduction. There are two types of book reviews. One is formal, academic, and perhaps somewhat stuffy. The other is creative, stylish, and popular.

What are the 5 elements of a book? ›

This song covers the five main elements of a story: setting, plot, characters, conflict and theme.

What are the five main parts of a book? ›

Design and content make up the entirety of the book, including the title, introduction, body, conclusion, and back cover. In order to write a book in full, you need to have all the moving parts to make it not only good but also effective.

What are the 5 parts of a book report? ›

A book report is a way to tell others about a book you have read. A good book report should include the book's author, title, characters, setting, and plot, as well as a personal endorsement, which is your opinion of the book.

Where is the best place to read reviews? ›

The list of the top 10 best review sites
  • Google online reviews. Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 158.03 million. ...
  • Amazon online reviews. ...
  • Facebook online reviews. ...
  • Yelp online reviews. ...
  • TripAdvisor online reviews. ...
  • Better Business Bureau online reviews. ...
  • Yellowpages online reviews. ...
  • Manta online reviews.
Aug 5, 2022

What are the best sites for literature review? ›

Scopus and Web of Science are good databases to start with for any research topic and literature review. Scopus is a large multidisciplinary database covering published material in the humanities and sciences. It also provides citation analysis of authors and subject areas.

Is there a rating system for books? ›

Books don't come with ratings the way movies do. Publishers don't list the objectionable content on the back of the book, in the copyright statement, or even on their website. Some books will include an age recommendation on the inside front jacket flap, but that's rare.

Where can I find honest reviews? ›

Here, below mentioned are the secured, unbiased websites that give 100% reliable reviews and show you the true face of the product:
  • Amazon. One of the biggest e-commerce platforms Amazon is the best reviewing site. ...
  • Google. Google's business profile is another one of the top review sites. ...
  • Angie's List. ...
  • Trustpilot. ...
  • TestFreaks.
May 1, 2022

How can I get book reviews fast? ›

How to Get Book Reviews in 5 Steps (2023 Update)
  1. Identify your audience. A quick preliminary note: you want to start the review-gathering as early as possible. ...
  2. Find relevant book blogs. ...
  3. Write pitches for them. ...
  4. Send out your book. ...
  5. Follow up after a week.
Feb 7, 2023


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