The State of the Book Review, featuring John McMurtrie

Apr 15, 2024

John McMurtrie

This week’s guest is John McMurtrie, the esteemed former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle’s book review section. Join us as we explore the transition of book reviews from traditional media like TV and radio to online outlets like Amazon and Goodreads. His is an interesting take about how things were and how things are, along with insight about what a book reviewer is looking for when considering what books to review. Join us as John shares valuable insights on breaking into book reviewing and what he considers to be the key elements of a great book.


John McMurtrie has worked as an editor and writer for more than three decades, and from 2008 to 2019 was the books editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He is now an independent book editor and a senior editor at the San Francisco-based literary journal Zyzzyva. John also edits for McSweeney’s Publishing and the literary travel magazine Stranger’s Guide. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and Literary Hub.

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