Part of the mission statement for the Seattle Review of Books is to keep the art of the book review alive for another generation. Too many review outlets subscribe to the notion that a book review is just a plot synopsis with a little bit of thumbs-up or thumbs-down commentary stapled onto the end. We think book reviews are unique pieces of art; they are criticism written in the form they're critiquing. This opens up all sorts of neat opportunities. We believe that the best days for book reviews are ahead of us.

And there's a place for you in that future. SRoB co-founder Martin McClellan and I are teaching a class on book reviewing at Hugo House in January, and we'd like you to attend. It's called "The You Review of Books," and here's a synopsis:

Do book reviews matter in the age of GoodReads and Amazon customer reviews? The Seattle Review of Books co-founders Paul Constant and Martin McClellan think so: they say book reviews should be beautiful pieces of writing in response to beautiful pieces of writing. They’ll explore what makes a great review by providing examples and plenty of exercises and advice for how to read, think about, and write compelling, engaging, and intelligent reviews. Their goal is nothing less than training future writers for their website and inspiring writing about books everywhere in the world.

Hugo House members can sign up for the class starting on December 1st. Non-members can sign up starting December 8th. We hope to make this an entertaining class about the theory and practice of book reviewing, which is to say we hope to help you become a better reader, a better writer, and a better critic. We also hope to recruit future SRoB reviewers out of the class. If you have any questions, please feel free to send us an email. We'll post a reminder here on the site as soon as the class opens to the public.