The Corner

Review Copies

I know there are people in publishing out there who read the Corner, so let me just vent for a monent. Over a lunch of some reheated, home-made, pizza I picked up a copy of the Weekly Standard. In it is a very nice review of Gertrude Himmelfarb’s new book, The Roads to Modernity. She’s been working on this book for a very long time and I’ve been waiting for it to appear for a very long time. Did I get a review copy in the mail? No I did not. Indeed, I rarely get review copies of books that would make any sense for me to review. I get lots of paperback releases by lesbian poets and deaf African-Americans overcoming their hardships. I get review copies of self-published books by authors seeking to blow the lid off the upholstery business (yes, that’s an Odd Couple reference). But when it comes to the books I might actually be inclined to review I get nada, bupkis, zilch. Now I know this sounds kind of spoiled, since most people don’t get review copies. And that’s why I haven’t complained about this in the past. But, look, I’m a slow reader and a busy guy. If I wait for these things to hit the stands, it’s a lot harder for me to write something before it’s too late. Moreover, my wife has issued a fatwah that I’m no longer allowed to buy books off of Amazon — or anywhere else — because I bought so many doing research (a similar fatwah exists against subscribing to more magazines). Besides I should get review copies. NRO is read by 9 trillion people, by my own estimate. My syndicated column appears in many of the top 20 newspapers around the country.

So look folks at Knopf and elsewhere: I won’t be writing any reviews of books about what it was like to grow-up hemaphroditic on the African veldt. But I just might write about big cool books about history, public policy, philosophy and stuff like that. If you want to know where to send them, you know how to find me.


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