In general, John Updike favored the nice-guy approach to book reviewing, one that favored and coddled the author and limited the reviewer. He had a set of standards—his “rules” of reviewing—that clearly arose out of his experiences as an oft-reviewed author. They go something like this: 1) don’t review books you have any personal connection to; 2) quote the book; 3) quote the book; 4) no spoilers; 5) quote the book; 6) review the book, not the author’s reputation; 7) praise unsparingly; 8) leave tradition, schools of criticism, and political/social ideas out of it; 9) remember that books are meant to be enjoyed, 10) quote the book.
And do check out the On Reviewing columns to the left.
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