This idea — that one person, and only one person, in any given generation can possess the intellectual prowess, creative might, emotional intelligence and writing chops to produce a novel that speaks truth about the disparate American whole — is pure hogwash.
Posts Tagged: New York Times Book Review
Some story collections drop with fireworks and great fanfare, while others make their entrance, it could be said, on tender feet. The latter is the case with the works of Edith Pearlman, who released her fifth story collection, Honeydew, on Tuesday....more
At Salon, Molly Fischer criticizes the New York Times’s “Bookends” column, going so far as to suggest that the it be eliminated for good. She compares the question-and-answer formats — and the content of the prompts — as reminiscent of high school English classes:
It’s not just the stiff phrasing (“What should we make of this?” “What’s behind the notion?”) that gives Bookends its blue-books-and-binder-paper feel.
The New York Times Book Review recently published a summer reading special issue. In it, the terrific British travel writer and novelist Lawrence Osborne has an essay on travel writing, along with some summer reading recommendations. He writes about books by John Waters, Iain Sinclair, and Tim Butcher and ruminates on what we look for in travel writing....more
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
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
I know I should be grateful to the NYTBR for trashing my new book. I’m not....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