Why subscribe?

Becoming literate is a lifelong task, but it shouldn’t take your entire day.

Our goal is to deliver a bulletin that is a quick and enjoyable way for you to hear about good and interesting writing and good and interesting books. Our hope is that it will be something you look forward to. Nothing too heavy and nothing too boring. A few good links, a few regular features—a poem, an upcoming book, a joke, a quote, whatever will be amusing and informative.

The only necessary and sufficient cause for subscribing to the Washington Review of Books is that you [1] enjoy reading it, or—failing that—at least [2] find it edifying. But with those two out of the way, here are two things the Managing Editors and their various valued associates try to provide—or two audiences they try to provide for—when putting it together.

You should subscribe to the Washington Review of Books if you . . .

[3] . . . are interested in what we persist in lazily defining as the books-and-culture space, perhaps professionally or as an amateur involved in writing about literature, a graduate student, an editor or working in publishing, someone who is decently well-informed but does not have time or would prefer not to flip through all the publishers catalogs and try to keep track of every new issue of every little biweekly and quarterly journal under the sun. Many of our subscribers tell us they enjoy reading the newsletter for this reason: it is a utility; it saves them part of their professional or semi-professional or social or hobbyish labor.

[4] . . . are interested in being more well-read than you are. Obviously at a certain level this is “most people”: people who feel in some way disappointed in their reading, people who feel discouraged. The sort of character who mumbles things like “Ah, I really should get around to War and Peace . . . someday . . . maybe.” For that person, we try to say, first of all, just do it, it’s not so complicated: pick up a book and have fun, and here’s a little article to read: here’s a little introduction to something you know nothing about, here’s an example of someone really powerfully exercising a negative critical judgment, here’s just some great writing—there’s a whole ongoing discourse about the kind of culture that you heard about in high school and college, maybe, but which seems “not for you” now, the foreign films and long classic novels and fussy incomprehensible modern art, and you can actually pretty easily slip into this discourse and learn about these things. And we’ll goof off and crack jokes and give you the spoonful of sugar to help the big stuff go down.

That’s something worth doing for all sorts of intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. It’s important. So in addition to being a utility it’s an educational tool.

Morten Jensen, on a panel in 2022, made a comment to the effect that the critic is someone carrying on their education in public—the WRB is trying to be explicit about that and inviting as many people as possible along for the ride.

If any of this is compelling to you, then: You should subscribe to the Washington Review of Books.


Managing Editors:

Chris McCaffery (@cmccafe) (chris@washingreview.com)
Steve Larkin (@stevielark) (steve@washingreview.com)

Poetry Editor:

Julia St. John (julia@washingreview.com)

Children’s Literature Editor:

Sarah Schutte

Social Media:

Grace Russo
Hannah DeRespino

Associations Editor:

Kelly Chapman

Managing to be at large:

Nic Rowan (@NicXTempore)


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Email the Managing Editors here: editors@washingreview.com.

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Becoming literate is a lifelong task, but it shouldn’t take your entire day.


“they are practicing an art in merely living” | Managing Editor of the Washington Review of Books
Managing Editor of the Washington Review of Books
NR's Unabashed Literary Tyrant and Semi-Useful Podcast Manager. Daytonian, children's lit aficionado, Mendelssohn 4 enthusiast, and cookie snob. Seaplane-pilot aspirant.
Pretty O.K.! | MFA candidate at VCU | Poetry editor at the Washington Review of Books