A note to the readership from the Isis Book Review Editor, Projit Mukharji.
Dear Isis readers,
Some of you have noticed by now that we have not been publishing the list of books received over the past few months. I thought it might be helpful to fill you in on why this has happened.
While we try to review a large and inclusive (though not exhaustive) cross section of books published in our field, it is impossible to review every single book that is sent to us. The process for those that are reviewed, naturally, takes a certain amount of time from our first receipt of the book to the review appearing in print. The “Books Received” announcements are therefore a quick way of acknowledging to publishers that we have received and considered the books they sent, while also alerting the larger field that the book is now out in the world.
Last year’s life-changing disruptions completely upended our operational procedures. Initially, we were locked out of our Book Review Office in Philadelphia due to the pandemic. The continued difficulties of access eventually forced the Book Review Office to temporarily relocate to Starkville, so that it could function out of the main Isis office at Mississippi State University. During the same period, several publishers closed down their physical offices. Above all, the postal departments of various countries struggled to maintain the usual delivery schedules. In many regions of the United States, events leading up to and following the general elections that directly targeted the postal department also stretched its ability to maintain optimum service times.
All this meant that for several months we completely stopped receiving physical copies of recently published books. Happily, we have gradually begun to once again receive some copies, but compared to our pre-pandemic numbers this is a very small number. We have kept the Book Reviews section going by directly soliciting books from publishers based on publishers’ catalogs, and by pivoting to the use of electronic copies for review rather than physical books.
Like everyone else, we hope that some semblance of normalcy will return to our work, and soon. Even before that, we hope that we will be able to recommence the Books Received announcements. Until then, we hope you will bear with us and continue to support us in maintaining as much of the basic rhythms of our scholarly lives as we can.
Projit Bihari Mukharji
Book Review Editor, Isis.