Welcome (back) to Book World.
This means much more than just the reunion of The Washington Post’s various reviews under one umbrella. The section’s rebirth brings with it a renewed and expanding sense of what our books coverage can and should be.
We will continue to stress books about politics, power and their effects on the lives of everyday people for The Post’s uniquely positioned, globally interested audience. We’ll have original arguments stemming from consideration of books about the forces fueling our tumultuous times, from disinformation and climate change to technological revolutions and reckonings with history. In fiction, we’ll showcase a diverse roster of strong and stylish critics, delve more often into the lives and minds of writers, and engage with the many arguments that are rooted in what and how we read. We’ll help you find (and decide on) everything: bestsellers, obscure gems, prize winners, disappointments and the rest, from here and around the world.
You’ll find us more often on social media, where we’ll ask you more frequently about what you’re reading and thinking. We’ll also keep an eye on older books — those that are newly relevant and those that are timelessly interesting or delightful — knowing that readers want to find great books from wherever and whenever they can.
Book World’s first editor was William McPherson, who was at the helm from 1972 until 1978. He became an acclaimed novelist and was among several Pulitzer Prize-winning critics Book World has nurtured. Others include Jonathan Yardley, who won his Pulitzer before coming to The Post, and Michael Dirda, who remains a vital contributor to our pages as we relaunch. The reviews of our invaluable critic Ron Charles will now run in print on Sundays, and his popular Book Club newsletter (sign up here if you haven’t already) will still go out by email every Friday morning.
Marie Arana, the last editor to oversee the stand-alone Book World section, is the author of several acclaimed books and a true literary ambassador: the first literary director of the Library of Congress and the former director of the National Book Festival, among other influential roles. I want to thank McPherson and Arana and the other editors whose work challenges us to aim high as we reimagine Book World for a new audience.
On the 25th anniversary of Book World, Yardley wrote that McPherson “understood that this section must be many things to many people.” And that remains true. Books encompass everything under the sun, and we will treat them with the broad curiosity that they (and their readers) deserve. We welcome your comments and suggestions as we embark on this new, and also storied, venture with you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.
— John Williams, books editor
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