My life as a book reviewer
My Life as a Book Reviewer
By Dr. Wesley Britton
I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure my first published book review came out in 1981 for Joseph P. Lash’s Helen and Teacher, the historian’s dual biography of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy. I forget the name of the periodical, but I recall it was a newspaper printed for the Dallas-based Association of Individuals with Disabilities.
In 1983, I became a graduate student in American Literature at the University of North Texas. Very quickly, I began hearing the oft-repeated mantra of “Publish or Perish.” That phrase sounds very simple, but not so fast. Back in those days, unless you were part of a Creative Writing department, publishing “primary sources”—meaning any creative writing, poetry, short stories, or novels—didn’t count toward your career path. The research-oriented English departments wanted “secondary sources,” meaning scholarly studies of recognized classics or even…
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