Harriet Klausner was born on May 20, 1952, and passed away on October 15, 2015.
Harriet was a reviewer of books and a newspaper columnist.
She was the #1 ranked reviewer on Amazon.com until October 24, 2008, when the company began a new ranking system.
On December 8, 2011, Amazon removed the “Classic Reviewer Ranking” and Klausner is no longer a Top Ranked Reviewer.
Harriet grew up in the Bronx and her father was an employee of McGraw-Hill.
Harriet was a former librarian with a master’s degree in library science, who was proficient in speed-reading. Reportedly, “ailments (kept) her home and insomnia (kept) her up”. She resided in Atlanta.
Harriet professed in her online profiles to read two books a day, but a 2007 profile of her in Time reported that she read four to six books per day.
Per an interview published in The Wall Street Journal in 2005, she stated that her goal for reviewing is to bring attention to “lesser-known” authors who “don’t have a publicity machine behind them.
That’s the whole purpose of my doing this on Amazon”.
As well as posting many reviews on the Amazon website, Harriet also posted reviews on several other websites, including Barnes & Noble; Books ‘n’ Bytes; SFF Net; online magazine Of Ages Past; and SF Site.
Harriet was criticized by those who questioned whether she actually read the books she reviewed, given the time taken to read a book and the number of reviews Klausner published per day.
Additionally, every book she read was given a 4 or 5 star review. Stanley, her husband, said: “She’s soft, I won’t deny that.”
Author John Birmingham deliberately included a character called Harriet Klausner in his novel Designated Targets.
It was noted that Klausner made no mention of this in her review, casting doubt on whether she had fully read the book.
Harriet died at age 63 in October 2015.