Foreword Reviews

Author-Reviewer Mutual Admiration Society

For twenty years now, Foreword has been delivering long-form book reviews of independently published books. We’ve worked hard to develop a core group of fifty skilled freelance reviewers to write competently about virtually all subjects, whether books on Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, transgender teens, or Laotian cookbooks. We’ve got specialists in Caucasus history, entrepreneurialism, Eastern spirituality, and the science of climate change. And then there’s first-rate literary fiction, the soul of indie publishing, which calls to certain of our reviewers like nothing else. Believe you me, it takes some courage to write four hundred words on a book from one of the world’s best novelists.

Above all the digital noise, we know that objective, unbiased reviews are the indispensable currency of book publishing. How else could librarians and booksellers satisfy their patrons? But it all starts with authors, of course—the cosmos of book publishing revolves around authors.

Aside from reviews, we’ve been asking ourselves over the years, is there anything else we could be doing to cover great indie books and authors?

And then the idea of Foreword Face Off occurred to us—free-ranging discussions between the authors of books that earned starred reviews in the magazine and the reviewers who penned the original reviews. We imagined high-minded literary exchanges, funny anecdotes, hidden anxieties, working habits, and so many other things we admire about authors and the expert book people who review them.

As it happens, we’re off and running with these interviews in Foreword This Week, our digital newsletter, in addition to weekly blogs on the Foreword website, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the nature of the conversations. Here’s a quick partial list of the books and authors our reviewers have interviewed just in the past couple months: Rice Boy’s author, Evan Dahm; Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl; The Metabolic Approach to Cancer’s author, Dr. Nasha Winters; Pam Jones, author of Andermatt County; Miracle Brew: Hops, Barley, Water, Yeast and the Nature of Beer’s Pete Brown; Chef Sean Sherman’s The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen; and The Real Life of the Parthenon’s Patricia Vigderman.

It’s great stuff, and I certainly hope you can find a quiet minute to check them out on the website, or better yet, sign up for Foreword This Week.

Let me know what you think. Have a great spring.

Matt Sutherland

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