Julie Kane | Reviewer of the Year 2023

She is my secret weapon for those “OMG how did we miss that book?” last-minute reviews.

When I first read Julie’s reviews of fiction and mystery titles for LJ, I was struck by her exuberance and enthusiasm, accompanied by an expertise and broad range of knowledge of the genres. Then I witnessed her in action, moderating various LJ Day of Dialog panels, and was impressed anew. She is my secret weapon for those “OMG how did we miss that book?” last-minute reviews, for which I’m eternally grateful. Julie is a professor and collection strategies librarian at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA. She went to Mount Holyoke College and Simmons College GSLIS and has been at W&L for just over eight years. They—and we—are lucky to have her.—Liz French

‘‘Based on the harrowing true story of the largest fire to ravage the coast of Maine. Shreve’s prose mirrors the…fire, with popping embers of action, licks of blazing rage, and the slow burn of lyrical character development. Absolutely stunning." From Julie’s review of Anita Shreve’s The Stars Are Fire

When did you start reviewing for LJ?

I started in 2008.

What are your favorite kinds of books to review?

The ones that surprise me in some way and stay with me after I’ve finished. It’s so easy for me to forget a book immediately after finishing; if I’m still thinking about one a week later, I’ll recommend it. Months later? I’m giving it to people and shouting from the rooftops.

What do you find most rewarding about the reviewing process?

The opportunity to discover authors that are new to me and books that I otherwise might have missed, and the chance to share those with people who I know will love and appreciate them. Reading is of course the best part! Writing is the hardest—but it’s also a fun bit of a puzzle to figure out how to make meaning and get across a succinct impression of an entire work in just 175–200 words.

Can you share three books that you have enjoyed reviewing for LJ?

This question is the hardest, and adding Day of Dialog moderation to the mix makes it exponentially harder. It might have been a highlight of my life to get to talk to Hernan Diaz about Trust—I was so lucky to moderate that panel before he won the Pulitzer. I’ll never forget reviewing Luke Jennings’s Codename Villanelle in 2018, just as it was being adapted into the Killing Eve show. I hold a special place in my heart for the last Anita Shreve I reviewed, The Stars Are Fire. I was lucky to get to see her at an ALA before she died and will always treasure that novel. 

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