New York Review of Books

In my first seminar as an MA student the professor of English said in passing, ‘of course you all read the literary journals to keep up with things.’ We wondered what ‘literary journals’ were and, as I remember it, we weren’t too sure what ‘things’ were either. Literary journals turned out not to be the academic journals we used when writing essays. Insead, The Times Literary Supplement (TLS), The London Review of Books (LRB), and The New York Review of Books (NYRB) are, for the most part, made up of reviews of recent books (fiction and non-fiction), along with some film and theatre reviews and, in the case of NYRB (these journals are famous enough to have standard acronyms), some articles on current affairs (e.g. ‘Should Hate Speech be Outlawed?’). Not too many people read these from cover to cover as these journals cover such a broad range of subjects. Paper copies (no electronic ones in the late 20th century) of some or all of these were to be found in staff and postgrad common rooms and with the newspapers in the library. The RUG library has these as well and glancing at them once a fortnight would be a good idea as this might, for example, suggest something that could be tackled in a BA or MA scriptie or introduce you to some wonderful writer that you’d never have heard of otherwise. As we have the NYRB online and you can subscribe to a feed with the latest content page it’s easy to get an idea of what’s attracting attention in the US and you can find the literature articles easily. NYRB reviews tend to be longer than others and sometimes they review several books at a time (e.g. Shakespeare’s Prejudices). As many of its readers work or study in universities there are occasional articles on university life in general (‘Can colleges be saved?‘). If you read about an interesting book, the library is likely to get it on your recommendation.