Letters and Life: On Being a Writer

A few months ago, I swore off writing book reviews after a monumentally awkward encounter with an author whose book I had reviewed. In defense of this Author Who Shall Not Be Named, I walked right into it. I strongly encourage writers to refrain from cheerfully approaching authors whose books they have reviewed. Learn from my mistakes.

My disavowal of book reviewing didn’t take, obviously. I had already committed to reviewing a new title for a print publication, so I had to shake off my abject mortification and put on my big girl pants. Thankfully, I loved the book and didn’t have many negative criticisms to weave in to my otherwise glowing assessment. It was such a pleasant experience I decided I would revise my prohibition against book reviews. I simply wouldn’t review books I didn’t wholeheartedly love, thus saving me from future mortification and preserving the egos of authors whose books about which I could not, in good conscience, gush.

All of this is to say that when Chris Smith, the wise and winsome editor of The Englewood Review of Books, sent out a call for reviews that included Bret Lott’s Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, on Being a Christian, I hastily called dibs on the book on account of my supreme confidence that I would love it.

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