[Milton-L] soliciting of reviews

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Thu Dec 11 18:52:54 EST 2008


>From a review writer's standpoint:

I've published, or had accepted for publication, four book reviews lately by
two different journals.  They were all peer-reviewed, and I was solicited
for the review by both journals.  All were accepted, the last one needing
some revision (it was a weird review essay in which I had to cover a
monograph and an anthology about the same subject.  Very hard to balance the
two.  I appreciated the editors' input in this case, esp. since it was
good).  It doesn't bother me to have my reviews reviewed, especially since I
haven't been publishing in these fields for 20-30 years and am only a recent
Ph.D. (last May).  Ask me again 20 years from now.

I will add that all reviewers are biased.  That is part of their strength,
or at least better be, as biases are unavoidable.  Being biased and being
unfair, however, are two different things.  I try to be fair to the books I
review by starting with one question: what did the author(s)/editor(s) hope
to achieve with this work, and did he or she or they achieve it?  Whether or
not the goal itself is a worthy one is my second question, but so far I've
been able to appreciate the goals of the books I've been reviewing.

I've also recently reviewed a Blake exhibition at a small college for BIQ,
but that  assignment came at the request of the curator when I visited his
exhibition.  It was an odd assignment for me -- have never written something
like that before.  Easy to write as I loved the exhibition even if it wasn't
the Met.

Jim R
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