The NYT‘s section Books of the Times reviews RJ Smith’s biography of James Brown, The One, which came out earlier this spring: “This book’s sparkle speaks for itself, as does Mr. Smith’s ability to take on his screaming, moaning, kinetically blessed, unbeatably shrewd subject.” Smith covers Brown’s life from his childhood in the rural South to his post-glory troubles with the law while dropping stories about the idiosyncrasies and many talents of the late great “Soul Brother Number One”....more
Posts Tagged: New York Times Book Review
A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star, right? Well that’s what New York Times book reviewer Glen Duncan thinks.
In his Sunday Book Review of Colson Whitehead’s complex new zombie novel, Zone One, Duncan sets the parallel between dating porn stars and what he initially perceives as slumming in genre fiction, and lets the rest of the review ride on the back of this comparison. While he’s busy offending sex workers, he also speculates that readers attracted to the story for its post-apocalyptic zombie tale will encounter so many big words as to be morally affronted. Duncan praises the book and comes around to the idea of intellectually stimulating genre fiction, but never quite comes around to the idea of sex workers as intellectually stimulating people, concluding of his imaginary couple only that, “they look pretty good together.”...more
In a post on the blog Book Publishing News, publicist Scott Lorenz distills a recent speech by New York Times Book Review Editor Barry Gewen and accounts from other sources to form a picture of how the NYTBR — probably the most influential and widely-read book review in the country — actually chooses which books to review....more