It means more than simply bringing together the various critics of The Washington Post under one umbrella. The rebirth of the section brings with it a renewed and expanded sense of what our book covers can and should be.
We will continue to focus on books about politics, power and their effect on the lives of ordinary people for The Post’s uniquely positioned and world-interested audience. We’ll have original arguments from reviewing books about the forces that fuel our tumultuous times, from misinformation and climate change to technological revolutions and accounts with history. In fiction, we’ll showcase a diverse slate of strong and elegant reviews, delve more often into the lives and minds of writers, and engage with the many arguments that are rooted in what we read and how we read it. We’ll help you find (and decide) it all: bestsellers, obscure nuggets, winners, disappointments and the rest, from here and there.
You’ll find us more often on social media, where we’ll ask you questions more frequently about what you’re reading and thinking. We’ll also be keeping an eye out for older books – those that are newly relevant and those that are timelessly interesting or delightful – knowing that readers want to find great books where and when they can.
Book World’s first editor was William McPherson, who was at the helm from 1972 to 1978. He became an acclaimed novelist and was among several Pulitzer Prize-winning critics that Book World nurtured. Others include Jonathan Yardley, who won his Pulitzer before coming to The Post, and Michael Dirda, who remains an essential contributor to our pages as we relaunch them. Reviews from our invaluable reviewer Ron Charles will now be printed on Sundays, and his popular Book Club newsletter (sign up here if you haven’t already) will still be emailed every Friday morning.
Marie Arana, the last editor of the autonomous Book World section, is the author of several acclaimed books and a true literary ambassador: first literary director of the Library of Congress and former director of the National Book Festival, among other influential roles. I want to thank McPherson and Arana and the other publishers whose work challenges us to aim high as we reimagine Book World for a new audience.
On Book World’s 25th anniversary, Yardley wrote that McPherson “understood that this section had to be many things to many people”. And that remains true. Books encompass everything under the sun, and we’ll treat them with the broad curiosity they (and their readers) deserve. We welcome your comments and suggestions as we embark on this new adventure with you. You can reach us at [email protected] Thanks for reading.
— John Williams, book editor
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