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How much would you have to be paid to read this book?


What if you were also required to write a review? What if the review required actually reading it as opposed to faking having read it, i.e., the normal book review?

It is almost impossible to mention books in bulk without grossly over-praising the great majority of them. Until one has some kind of professional relationship with books one does not discover how bad the majority of them are. In much more than nine cases out of ten the only objectively truthful criticism would be “This book is worthless”, while the truth about the reviewer’s own reaction would probably be “This book does not interest me in any way, and I would not write about it unless I were paid to.” But the public will not pay to read that kind of thing. Why should they? They want some kind of guide to the books they are asked to read, and they want some kind of evaluation. But as soon as values are mentioned, standards collapse. For if one says – and nearly every reviewer says this kind of thing at least once a week – that King Lear is a good play and The Four Just Men is a good thriller, what meaning is there in the word “good”?

Orwell, “Confessions of a Book Reviewer”

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