Books: 17,000 Book Reviews

Lisle Bell has probably reviewed more books than anyone in the world. Total is now around 17,000. But even among reviewers in Manhattan, where he has practiced his craft for 26 years, Bell is almost unknown. The reason: he specializes in the brief, unsigned booknote, turns them out at the rate of twelve a week.

The few of his fellow craftsmen who know him consider him the most skilled practitioner of a most difficult kind of book reviewing. Critic Van Wyck Brooks, when he edited the Freeman, said that Lisle Bell had invented a...

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