What's New with Reviews?
We're looking for reviews of books up to 1000 words. As with all things Barrelhouse, you can get a feeling of our sensibility by reading the magazine, but put simply, the Reviews section is where can integrate pop cultural commentary with other kinds of works. We want to see reviews that transcend book reports and digress into essay territory. We want to see how the book fits into our pop culture and what the writer's voice cuts through the din. Think Roxane Gay, Leslie Jamison, Samantha Irby. We don't want to know what the book is about, we want to know why we should care (and we get to that by reading about how much you care). And although we all enjoy a good book that you can pick up at the airport as much as anyone else, we'd prefer to see some love for the small and independent presses that don't have the budgets and marketing muscle to land national bylines. Please stick to literary fiction, essay collections, memoir, and poetry collections. No genre fiction, academic texts, or self-published books. For an idea of what subjects and styles of books we would prefer to feature, we recommend perusing the Barrelhouse archives for a sense of the mission and voice of the website.
We can, for instance, imagine a review of an academic work, but it would likely have to be a book that makes interesting connections, is surprising, funny, prescient, intelligent, even ludicrous—but never boring or abstruse. In this category, you can imagine new or upcoming works of sociology, history, science—really any academic field, as long as you feel it speaks to a general readership who is not well-versed in the jargon of the field and meets the above criteria. The same goes for books on the craft of writing, biographies, memoirs, collections of essays etc.—even if the material is dry, don't let your review be! Feel free to transform the minutiae of life in the English countryside into Hitchcockian mystery, write a review to an academic so deliciously scathing it makes us cackle, reimagine a historical narrative on the rise of neoliberalism through the prism of Lewis Carroll, or give us high-Michiko Kakutani musings on a work via Stewie from Family Guy (actually, not Stewie in particular, but you get the point). Be fiercely political or even-tempered; experimental or direct—but don't be racist, misogynistic, albeist, queer, or transphobic. Feel free to review transgressive work, but know that we're only likely to publish it if your review—despite the book itself—has high merits of its own. Whichever way you do it, above all give us reviews that stand as works of art in their own right.
WANT AN ASSIGNMENT? BECOME A REGULAR REVIEWER!
Book Reviews Editors Kamil Ahsan and Tabitha Blankenbiller are looking to add a few regular book reviewers for the new Barrelhouse book reviews section! Experience not required, passion and opinions essential. We cannot pay you in dollars, but you will be receiving FREE BOOKS! Please see above for book review guidelines, and be sure to check out the Barrelhouse archives and online issue for a sense of style and content. To apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief bio and links to 3 writing samples, preferably in the review genre.