Magill's Literary Annual, Reviews

Praise for Previous Editions of Magill’s Literary Annual

“Each edition of this annual, which began publication in 1954, covers 150 timeless fiction and nonfiction works from the previous year that are likely to appeal to general readers, reflect publishing trends, and boost the careers of its contributors. The cover this time features Nnedi Okorafor, whose books Noor and Remote Control are discussed, as are works by humorist Jenny Lawson, poet Amanda Gorman, novelist Haruki Murakami, memoirist Quiara Alegría Hudes, and many more. The entries include bibliographic information about the book and lists of review sources that have covered it, and a lengthy essay per title on the work’s plot, themes, language, and significance, and the career of the author; each is complemented by color photographs of the book’s creator and of its cover. While this work is an annual, there is nothing perfunctory about its content, with each entry offering a concise yet comprehensive overview of the work in question, one that will be of great use to avid readers, book groups, and collection-development and readers advisory librarians. Patrons who say they’ve read everything will be an especially appreciative audience for the annotated contents list, which offers quick ideas for new reads.
VERDICT: Public and academic staff and patrons can benefit greatly from this quality annual.”
-Library Journal, 2022

“Magill’s is a valuable easy-to-use reference for any librarian, literature teacher, or avid reader among us.”

“This latest edition provides readers with in-depth reviews of 150 works of literature published in 2017. Entries appear in alphabetical order and include title information, author name and birth year (death year if necessary), publisher name, type of work, and period and location depicted. For each book, readers will find a summary in italics. This is followed by a list of primary characters for novels and short fiction. The front matter of both volumes contains a “Complete Annotated List of Contents” in alphabetic order. The second volume concludes with three indexes, “Category Index,” which groups books according to type—biography, current affairs, memoir, novel, short fiction, true crime, etc.; a title index; and an author index. Entries range from four to five pages; all are signed by the contributors listed in the front matter of volume one (though it should be noted that contributor names appear without affiliations). On the whole entries are informative, providing readers with an understanding of the book’s contents as well as a sense of where it fits in the larger literary scene. Purchasers of the print receive access to a complimentary archive comprised of the last forty years of literary annuals. It appears that ongoing access depends on an annual purchase of the print version. This set is recommended for academic and public libraries.”

“Following an established organization and format, each of the 150 entries (chosen from among thousands) provides reference information including title, author, and time period, along with genre, short description, and principle characters/personages blocked off at the head of each entry. "Review Sources" that supplement each entry provide quick references to other reviews of the same work. Book covers and short author biographies accompany most entries, and there are three indexes at the end of the second volume: Category (genre), Title (of work), and Author. Reviewers are all scholar-practitioners who have chosen works of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, that will be of substantial interest to a wider, more popular audience… The length and quality of the annual reviews serve to bring academic insight to assist the selection process of recent literature—saving the time of the librarian and interested reader alike. Taken as a full run (available online with purchase of the print), readers find a continual thread of not only what is important each year, but an historical appreciation of why each title has been included.”

“Each essay is very carefully formatted to follow a specific layout. This includes the typical author and title information, but also original publication information, details for foreign works (e.g., original title, language, translator), a subject as selected from a list of categories, and information such as time, locale, and principal characters within the work. Each essay covers not just the work itself, but also a brief discussion about the author.
The book begins with an annotated list of the reviewed books so readers can easily get a brief snapshot of the book. Each essay, which is approximately four pages in length, concludes with additional sources of information to facilitate additional research. The book concludes with indexes for subject, title, and author to make navigation even easier…
These reviews, though, are thoughtful, detailed, and written with very high quality by respected scholars. Such reviews are not necessarily available online, making this well worth the cost and a valuable resource for academics, book lovers, or anyone interested in recent literary publications.”