The Cleveland Review of Books, founded in 2018, was launched in order to fill a perceived critical gap in the city and Midwest at large. On the most basic level, we publish book reviews of contemporary literature and engaging non-fiction that put the books’ themes and ideas into conversation with larger artistic, cultural, or political issues.
However, as other “Review of Books” publications, mainly based on the coasts or in major European cities, demonstrate, a journal like ours can do more than just review books. They can be platforms for interesting reviews of other media, cultural commentary, new and literary journalism, regional investigations, and engaging first-person essays that become larger critiques at the same time. We publish all of the above types of writing, while putting our own regional spin on the “Review of Books” genre. We focus on issues relevant to the Midwest, prioritize regional subjects, and make a concerted effort to publish writers who are natives or residents of Cleveland alongside national critics, essayists, and journalists.
Our contention is that we can help foster a critical attitude toward culture amongst our Midwestern readership, while harboring a discussion that is worth the attention of a national readership. But perhaps most importantly, we aim to cultivate community through reading, thinking, and writing.