Gail Pool


As a longtime literary journalist, I have published essays, book columns, and reviews in many national publications—from "The New York Times" to the "Women's Review of Books" to the "Nation"—and I have published three critically acclaimed, and very different, books:

"Lost Among the Baining: Adventure, Marriage, and Other Fieldwork"—a cross-cultural travel memoir (and a love story) about a life-changing journey to Papua New Guinea that reviewers called "provocative," "inspiring," "compulsively readable," and "laugh-out-loud funny."

"Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America"—the first and still the only book to take an in-depth, historical, and tough look at this perennially troubled field. Critics called it "passionate," "thought-provoking," and "mandatory reading."

"Other People's Mail: An Anthology of Letter Stories"—an Editor's Choice selection at the "Chicago Tribune" that reviewers called "entertaining," "moving," and "wickedly absorbing."

For more information about these books, please take a look at my Authors Guild Website (, which also includes reviews of travel literature, a field I covered as a book columnist for the "Christian Science Monitor" and have continued to explore.

And please take a look at my latest work, "An Anorexic's Alphabet" (, a graphic chapbook that takes readers inside the distorted, intellectualized, defensive, little-understood, and eerily intriguing mindset of the anorexic. (On You Tube at:

I was born in New York City, I attended Hunter College High School, and I concentrated in Ancient Greek at Harvard. For many years, I taught writing at the Radcliffe Seminars and at Emmanuel College. I live with my husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in Sanibel, Florida.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in New York City, on E. 11th St. My neighborhood wasn't chic then--it was the Lower East Side, not the East Village. But Greenwich Village, with its bookstores, coffee shops, and writers was close, and I wanted to be part of that literary world from early on.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was very young--some not-very-good poems that got a bit better by high school, where I edited the literary magazine. I knew early on that I wanted to be a writer, but then I wanted to be a lot of things--a psychiatrist, too, as I remember--but writing was the work I never abandoned.
Read more of this interview.


Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 62,240. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2018 . Categories: Nonfiction » Literary criticism » Books & Reading
Faint Praise, published in 2007, remains the only book to provide an in-depth analysis of traditional book reviewing in America. Exploring issues from publicity to bias, contrasting traditional reviewing with new alternatives, and weighing the inherent difficulties of reviewing against unacceptable practices, the book helps readers and authors to understand the field, and reviewers to improve it.
Lost Among the Baining: Adventure, Marriage, and Other Fieldwork
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 79,780. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2017 . Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Travel » By region » Oceania
(5.00 from 1 review)
In this wry travel memoir, a fiasco of an anthropological field trip leaves the writer and her husband haunted by the Baining of New Guinea, a people who upend Western theories as well as the couple's young lives. Years later, they return to the jungle to make peace with this very different culture and their youthful past.