David Beer, in his love letter to the academic book review:
Rather than being at the centre of disciplines, they are seen to be something of a luxury: an indulgent misuse of time spent reading, cover to cover, and then writing something that does not have any measurable value. As a result, the practice of writing a book review is often, and understandably, seen as an indulgence too far; a waste of precious time; a distraction from the proper activity of making original contributions to knowledge; an inefficiency perhaps.
Beer acknowledges all the metric-tide pressures that make reviews hard to fit in. But, he continues,
if these pressures mean that we abandon the book review, then we might well be damaging the foundations from which knowledge emerges and the community building properties of the debate that they afford.
It’s a great post. Beer ends up describing writing a book review as “very minor form of resistance”:
a space that we use to put a notion of collective knowledge ahead of the pressure for individualised contributions. The book review presents us with an opportunity to show that we value the things that might otherwise be lost in the logic of the systems that govern our research. We may even find that by defending the book review, the other aspects of our work might be enriched anyway.