"...Mr. Hodge sent Donald fairly frequent parcels ... on such subjects as the Civilization of the Andes, Rambles in old Perugia, Ten Days in Soviet Russia, Is the Soul Immortal?, the Fundamental Principles of Rugby Football, and Some Notes upon Surrey Rock-Gardens.
All of these Donald read carefully and reviewed carefully, resisting with stern determination the immoral advice of Mr. Harcourt on the subject of reviewing.
'Read the publisher's jacket first,' said Mr. Harcourt, preaching his scandalous gospel. 'That will usually give you the author's name and some sort of idea of what the book is about. If the jacket says that the book is an illuminating, unique, sensational, thought-provoking exposé from within of the political situation in Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, then the odds are about three to one that the book is about Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia. About once in four times they put the wrong cover on and you find that it's a book of short stories called Tikkity-Tonk, Old Fish! or a reprint of the Epistle to the Romans, but more often than not they get it right. Very well, then. You've got the subject. You then look at the index of chapters. That gives you the scope of the book, shows you whether it covers the religious question, or gives a list of the hotels, or has a bit about peasant costumes, or goes in for trade statistics ... By this time you've got the whole substance of the book and then all you've got to do is read the last two paragraphs of the last chapter, to see whether the author thinks the Sub-Carpathian Ruthenians are good eggs or bad eggs, and there you are.'
But Donald refused to subscribe to this pernicious doctrine, and steadily ploughed his way from cover to cover of each book that was sent to him, and his reviews, if not flashy or full of epigrams, at least arrived punctually; which is much more important from the editorial point of view than all the epigrams that ever were stolen by the twentieth-century reviewers from Wilde, and by Wilde from Whistler, and by Whistler from Octave Mirbeau.
Mr. Ogilvy usually sent novels for review, and Donald slogged through some pretty fearful stuff during these months. But the titles fascinated him, and he wrote a short article, and got it accepted by a literary weekly, on the trend of fashion in novel titles. He himself had entered the literary profession just as one fashion was giving way to another. The dying mode had dealt in vigorous, slashing, totally irrelevant names such as The Charioteers caught Soul, Rat-riddled, bilge-bestank (an exquisite long-short story of a modern Aucassin and Nicolette), and Shame, shame, Belshazzar! The new fashion was more shadowy and elusive and emasculate, like faded ladies or very modern poets, and Donald had to review a lot of books with names like And she said so too, So they all went on, It was rather a Pity, hein? and He shrugged; he had to."
From England, Their England by A. G. Macdonell.