The world has lost what has perhaps been its foremost book lover. Harriet Klausner, the woman who became famous — and infamous in some corners — for writing a staggering 31,014 book reviews on Amazon, died earlier this month at the age of 63. An obituary posted by a funeral home listed no official cause of death and said that she was survived by her husband, Stan, and her son, Eric, and a brother and numerous nieces and nephews.
Klausner was famous not only for the sheer volume of books she read and reviewed, but also for having an enthusiastic love of the books she reviewed for Amazon. And that’s because she gave the books she read a very brief chance at capturing her interest — so she only read books she truly enjoyed. “If a book doesn’t hold my interest by page 50, I’ll stop reading,” she said in a 2005 interview with The Wall Street Journal. Prior to writing reviews for Amazon, which she began doing in the late 1990s, Klausner worked as a librarian and newspaper columnist.
Her career was not without controversy, however. She’d been accused of being a scam artist and accepting payments in exchange for writing positive reviews. Some thought she might not even be a real person. And some just said outright that her reviews were uninformative. But the critics weren’t able to overwhelm the cultural niche she’d carved out for herself and in 2006 she was featured in TIME magazine’s “People of the Year” Issue. At one time, she was Amazon’s No. 1 ranked reviewer. And to this day, she’s listed by the bookselling site as a “#1 Hall of Fame Reviewer.”
Read the full story at The Washington Post.