Podcast Episode 33: On Writing Book Reviews (John Wilson & Tamara Hill Murphy)

This episode is also available on iTunesGoogleSpotify or wherever you access your favorite podcasts.

Our recording engineer, Joel Wentz, takes over the podcast for an episode focused on writing book reviews! He is joined by repeat podcast guest John Wilson and first-time guest Tamara Hill Murphy for a discussion of the form of the book review, the tensions involved in writing reviews, and of course what they are currently reading.

John Wilson was the founding editor of Books & Culture (1995–2016). He is Contributing Editor for the Englewood Review of Books. He frequently writes a column every other week for First Things, and his reviews and essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, Christianity TodayCommonwealThe Christian CenturyTriangleNational ReviewThe American ConservativeWeekly Standard, and The Boston Globe. He was the editor of five volumes in the Best Christian Writing series. He and his wife, Wendy, live in Wheaton, Illinois, where they are members of Faith Evangelical Covenant Church.

Tamara Hill Murphy lives with her husband Brian, an Anglican priest, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Her writing has appeared in PloughThink Christian, and The Englewood Review of Books. She is a Spiritual Director and Selah fellow with Leadership Transformations and is currently learning how to parent her four adult children. Find her at www.tamarahillmurphy.com

Books & Writing Mentioned in this Episode:

If you’d like to order any of the following books, we encourage you to do so from Hearts and Minds Books(An independent bookstore in Dallastown, PA, run by Byron and Beth Borger) 

  • “The Freedom of the Book Review” by David Kern (Forma Journal)
  • “Book Tour: A Leap Into the World of Another Mind” by Phil Christman (Plough)
  • Talk to Me: A Novel by T.C. Boyle
  • Reading for the Common Good: How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish by C. Christopher Smith
  • About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks by David Rooney
  • A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century by by Witold Rybczynski
  • At The Still Point: A Literary Guide to Prayer in Ordinary Time by Sarah Arthur
  • Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James
  • Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais
  • Naming Neoliberalism: Exposing the Spirit of Our Age by Rodney Clapp
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

If you’d like to order any of the following books,
we encourage you to do so from 
Hearts and Minds Books
(An independent bookstore in Dallastown, PA, run by Byron and Beth Borger)

SUBSCRIBE to the ERB podcast on iTunesGoogleSpotify or wherever you access your favorite podcasts.


Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior

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