Sh*t Book Reviewers Say

Ron Charles, fiction editor of the Washington Post, is the funniest, savviest book reviewer you’re ever likely to meet. He’s long been one of America’s most respected literary critics. And since 2010, when he launched his satirical Totally Hip Book Reviews video series, he’s been a worldwide cult sensation, perhaps best known as ‘that guy with the raw meat draped over his head’.

Sh*t Book Reviewers Say

We discovered this hilarious look at ‘Sh*t Book Reviewers Say’ thanks to Angela Meyer’s blog. It’s pure gold.

You really should watch the video (it’s all in the delivery), but in case you’re sitting in a communal office or on a packed tram, we’ve compiled some highlights.

Tell us if any of these sound familiar:

‘It’s the first great novel of the new millennium / of the post-9/11 age / of the new year / of the month / since lunch.’

‘It transcends genre fiction’

‘She’s the voice of her generation.’


‘… but I just didn’t care for the characters.’

‘It’s the lovechild between Jonathan Franzen and Emily Dickinson.’

‘It’s so much better than the usual chick-lit’

‘… but aside from these trifles, these are mere quibbles.’

‘… and the dialogue is pitch-perfect’

‘I liked her earlier books, but once she won the Nobel Prize …’

And (delivered in front of a large television and a boxed-set of Dawson’s Creek DVDs): ‘No, no, I don’t have a television.’

Ron Charles calls his video book reviews 'a labour of insanity'.

Ron Charles calls his video book reviews 'a labour of insanity'.

Becoming Totally Hip

Charles, who once wanted to be an actor, told the Huffington Post about how the video series began as a bit of fun, ‘mainly for my friends’.

‘I had this idea of a character in my mind: a nervous book reviewer who was worried about losing his job and was playing into the current paranoia about the book industry.’

He posted the video on YouTube and was ‘pretty sure’ that his employers would ask him to take it down.

‘Instead, three days later, they told me they loved it, that they wanted to post it on the paper’s website. I’ve been doing them almost weekly ever since.’

You can see more Totally Hip Book Reviews here.