When it comes to the NY Times Book Reviews, I'm a skimmer and a scanner. I check titles, authors, and reviewers. It's most rare that I read a complete review if all three are unfamiliar. Only great reviewers can snag me in to read all about a book I know nothing and care nothing about. I admire those reviewers.
It's equally rare when a reviewer I love reviews a book I will likely love. That happened in the January 21 issue of the NYTBR: Roy Blount, Jr. reviewed E.B. White's LETTERS OF E.B. WHITE: REVISED EDITION.
Almost every week, I hear Roy Blount, Jr. on NPR's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me!, so when I read his review, I could "hear" his voice. I took E.B. White's essays with me to Europe in 1988 and found them to be the perfect read on trains in foreign countries. GAK! It's been almost 20 years since I read his essays! No time like the present to work on his letters.
The essay on the back page of that same issue was quite humorous as well: Joe Queenan claims that he never buys a book unless a major reviewer says it is "Amazing." He writes, "Previously I had limited my purchases to to merchandise deemed "luminous" or "incandescent," but this meant I ended up with an awful lot of novels about bees, Provence or Vermeer." Hmmm....I think I read those books!