The Waking's book reviews/interviews seek to highlight books from small, independent publishers and university presses as well as books from new and emerging writers. In general, we avoid promoting books that already receive a lot of attention (publishers like Penguin, etc.). We also prioritize books by past Ruminate Magazine or The Waking contributors as part of our mission to support our writers. When selecting books by noncontributors, there should be a clear link between the book and an emphasis on contemplative living

We are also particularly excited about featuring reviews and books from voices that aren't often heard. 

All accepted book reviews will be published on The Waking. Currently we are not paying; however, you will receive your choice of two complimentary copies of Ruminate Magazine's back issues (normally $15 each).

In general, we encourage reviews/interviews that:

  • tell a story by connecting the book to the reviewer’s own life
  • that put the book in conversation with other contemporary books or broader artistic movements
  • are themselves contemplative pieces or interesting narratives, using personal style and flair to make the review a piece of art in and of itself
  • use of personal pronouns to convey an invitation to the reader of the reviewer’s own experience with the book without being overly idiosyncratic 
  • blend summary and analysis

In general, we avoid:

  • reviews that are mixed/critical. We see reviews as a way to share and promote authors. There are plenty of platforms for dissecting where and how a book fails, but for the purposes of our readership and aims, we like to focus on what the book is doing well. This does not mean book reviews should be hyperbolic and overly enthusiastic. Rather, we seek reviews that describe the “moves” of a book on its own terms in order to give readers a taste of that book.
  • overly academic book reviews. While it’s great to bring in some outside references or theories to frame a book, we prefer reviews that use such sources minimally, as this isn’t intended for an academic audience. Successful reviews often begin with an anecdote from the reviewer’s own life, or a reference to our present social / political / popular context to frame the conversations that this book is engaging in. 


  • We prefer book review submissions that are 1000 words or less and interviews that are less than 3000 words; however, we will consider longer submissions.
  • We follow Chicago Manual of Style for all quotations, etc. 
  • Please triple check quotations as we likely won’t have a copy to check it against.
  • Any relevant or helpful links should be included in the body of your submission.


We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.