Gail Pool


After many years in literary journalism, I began to write books—very slowly! I am definitely not a prolific writer, and I can’t say that I have a “brand"--each of my four books is very different from the others.

My most recently published work is "Lost Among the Baining: Adventure, Marriage, and Other Fieldwork," and though I never thought I’d write a memoir, it is very much a memoir. It’s also a travel book, and a love story.

The book looks back with wry humor on two life-changing journeys to Papua New Guinea. The first, a field trip I took with my husband to live with the Baining people, was a fiasco that haunted us for years. The second, our redemptive return to the Baining forty years on, gave our story a whole new ending. Reviewers have called the book "provocative," "inspiring," "compulsively readable," and "laugh-out-loud funny."

My previous book, "Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America," offers a (very) critical analysis of the field.
For anyone who wants to know about professional book reviewing—which books get chosen for review, who gets chosen to review them, what frames their reviews—this is an insider’s take on a slippery subject. Reviewers called it "crisp," "intelligent," "thoughtful," and "mandatory reading."

My other two books are "Other People’s Mail: An Anthology of Letter Stories," a collection of short fiction in the form of letters that was a labor of love, and "An Anorexic’s Alphabet," which I've just finished, a graphic chapbook that takes readers into the obsessive world of the anorexic.

I was born in New York City, I attended Little Red School House and Hunter College High School, and I concentrated in Classics at Harvard. I now live with my husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in Sanibel, Florida, where--when I'm not writing--I spend my time reading, gardening, and observing the magnificent wildlife.

Connect with me on social media:

Friend me on Facebook:
Like my Facebook Book Page: Lost Among the Baining
Follow me on Twitter: @gpool67
Connect with me on Linkedin
Find me on Smashwords
Read my travel book reviews on my blog: TraveLit:

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
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.