Magill's Literary Annual, 2003, is the fiftieth publication in a series that began in 1954. The philosophy behind the annual has been to evaluate critically 200 major examples of serious literature published during the previous year. Our focus is to provide coverage for works that are likely to be of particular interest to the general reader, that reflect the publishing trends of a given year, that add to careers of authors being taught and researched in literature programs, and that will stand the test of time. By filtering the thousands of books published each year down to two hundred notable titles, the editors have provided the busy librarian with an excellent reader's advisory tool and patrons with fodder for book discussion groups and a guide for selection. The essay-reviews in the Annual also provide a more academic, "reference" review of a work than is typically found in newspapers and other periodical sources.
This year's works are drawn from such categories as anthropology, autobiography, biography, current affairs, diaries, economics, environment, essays, history, language, literary criticism, medicine, memoirs, nature, philosophy, poetry, psychology, religion, science, short fiction, sociology, technology, travel, and women's issues. The articles are arranged alphabetically by book title. A complete list of included titles can be found at the beginning of volume 1. Each 2,000-word article begins with a block of top matter that indicates the title, author, publisher, and price of the work. When possible, the year of the author's birth is also provided. The top matter also includes the number of pages of the book, the type of work, and, when appropriate, the time period and locale represented in the text. Next comes a capsule description of the work. When pertinent, a list of principal characters or personages, with brief descriptions, introduces the review. These original essay-reviews analyze intent and relative success of the author and the work under discussion. To assist the reader further, the articles are supplemented by a list of additional reviews for further study.
Every essay includes a brief biography of the author or authors, and thumbnail photographs of the book covers and authors are included as available. At the end of volume 2 are four cumulative indexes listing works covered from the years 1977 to 2003: an index of Biographical Works by Subject, a Category Index, a Title Index, and an Author Index. The index of Biographical Works by Subject is arranged by subject rather than by author or title.show more