A reader sent me an email, with a complaint and a suggestion.

"Your constant preference for reviewing fiction in Sunday's Star-Tribune baffles me. There are many readers who enjoy the many biographies, histories, contemporary affairs, et. al. that are printed on a regular basis, but you seem to continually favor fiction and ignore nonfiction."

That was the complaint. Here's the suggestion: "Since you regularly review five books, why not review three fiction and two non-fiction one week, and three non-fiction and two fiction the next?"

While it's true that sometimes one genre or another dominates the pages on any given Sunday, it's also true that I try to strike a balance over time. The publishing world follows a calendar, and September and early October — when this reader wrote me — are prime seasons for big fiction. November, on the other hand, favors nonfiction.

I went back through this year's reviews and tallied them up: As of mid-October, we have run 137 reviews of fiction, 77 reviews of nonfiction, and three reviews of poetry. (I'm sorry, poetry!)

The reader has a point — fiction dominates. But 77 reviews of nonfiction is hardly ignoring the genre. And it's important to note that a lot of nonfiction appears in other parts of the newspaper, outside of the books pages.

Business books are in the business section. The Taste section reviews cookbooks. The Outdoors section covers books about the outdoors, and our weekly birding columnists in Variety do a good job of writing about bird books.

We don't review political books on the books pages — they get plenty of coverage in the news pages — and we also stay away from self-help, beauty and religion. This leaves essays, history, biography, memoir and science for the books pages — all of which we review. Heck, in July we reviewed a math book.

We'll never hit a perfect 50-50 division. I can't assign books based on a spreadsheet. I assign books that I think are important and interesting and sometimes surprising. I get hundreds of books every month from publishers, and I look at them all. I read the trade journals, and I think about what our readers might be most interested in.

It's my goal to have a glorious mix each week. Do I achieve it? Maybe not. But I work hard to ensure that over time, we review all kinds of books written by all kinds of authors. I look for books published by small presses as well as by the Big Guys in New York.

My hope is that every week, readers see at least one review on the pages that they find interesting.

To the reader who took time to write: Thank you. Don't give up on us! Between now and the end of the year we are reviewing some incredible nonfiction — Douglas Brinkley's "Silent Spring Revolution," a biography of novelist Shirley Hazzard, a collection of essays written by Black writers during COVID, a biography of Sioux Falls, S.D., a history of the Midwest, a history of pacifists during World War II, and — despite the good work by our birding columnists — a book about birds.

Choosing books to be reviewed is an art, not a science. There are so many great books coming out every week, and I want to cover them all. I know that's not possible. But each Sunday I try anew to get it right.

Thoughts? Things you'd like to see? Email me books@startribune.com.

Laurie Hertzel is the senior editor for books at the Star Tribune.