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I want to write a review of a novel, but I want to ask if there is a time limit for the book about to be reviewed. For example, can a book written in 2000 be reviewed in 2023?

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    Where are you publishing and what's your goal? The answer to whether it's allowed on [book site] will be different than the answer to if such a review is going to bring traffic to your personal blog.
    – Laurel
    Jan 22, 2023 at 19:55
  • I mean, I made it clear on my high school English papers how I thought "Hamlet" was not Shakespeare's best work because the main character spent far to long being a whining teenager when he should have been a compelling protagonist and my dislike of Earnest Hemingway for his formulaic emasculated male protagonists that did nothing of any note through the plot of the books. But what did I know, I only got an A and a loud chuckle from the teacher at an accidental impotence pun I made in a draft of my Hemingway paper that he was reading during class.
    – hszmv
    Jan 24, 2023 at 16:07

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Of course you can write a review. It's perfectly possible and doable.

But there's little demand on the market if any for reviews of old books. So if you want to offer it to some medium for publishing (a magazine, for instance), then it isn't likely they'd be interested.

Not a concern if you want to put it on a site that gathers reviews from readers, or on your blog, or turn it in as homework (assuming it fits the assignment).

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There are many different types of reviews and reasons for reviews. The most common is when a book has just been published, to tell readers (and bookshops and libraries) if they should buy it (or acquire it for selling). Reviews of this sort are written in a particular style, often focusing on how good the book is and whether it is worth reading, and if aimed at the trade who the readership is, and reviewers normally avoid giving too much of the plot away to avoid spoiling it. But there are many other ways of writing about a book that may be more appropriate for older books.

Many publications will publish articles on older books, but they tend not to be in the format of reviews. This applies both to academic journals, which commonly publish articles on older novels, but also to newspapers and other publications that write about books.

There are reasons why you might see an article on an old book:

  1. The writer has recently died, or been given a major award like a Nobel prize. In such a case there may be renewed interest in their work, and readers will want to learn about the writer and why they are/were great.
  2. There is some important anniversary of the writer or book, to be accompanied by an article explaining the book's historical significance.
  3. The book is particularly relevant to some new event or new book (e.g. if someone publishes a new book about King Henry VIII, there may be an article on older books about Henry VIII).
  4. A publication has some special series of articles which it fits into (could be anything: a series on authors of some particular origin/age/race/sexuality, books of some unusual form, etc).
  5. You have made some particularly important discovery, e.g. unearthing a new manuscript, finding the true story behind a book, or uncovering evidence that chances popular interpretations.
  6. You have some other academically-important scholarship, suitable for a paper in an academic journal.
  7. You are famous/well-known and have some link to the book you want to write about.

If you are hoping to sell an article on an old book, you will have to do research and find a hook such as these. Obviously, if you're just planning to put a review on your blog or on GoodReads, you can do what you like, and this doesn't matter. But publications don't write about old books for no reason.

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